Public Subsidies For Financing Construction Of New Stadiums For Pro Sports Teams Under Fire

President Obama’s new budget proposes eliminating the ability of cities to use bond issues to help private pro sports franchises finance the construction of new stadiums and arenas.

Interesting that the article notes that this may become a wedge issue inside the Republican party. Traditional GOP’ers that work to help funnel money to business interests are facing opposition from Tea Party Republicans that oppose most forms of government spending.

The sports website Deadspin wonders if Community Benefit Agreements (CBA’s) may be another way to stop pro sports teams from extorting public benefits from cash-strapped cities. The genesis of this article is the struggle over a mandatory CBA ordinance in Detroit. The ordinance has been proposed by a Detroit city councilor disgusted by a city dealing with bankruptcy financing $285 million (over half of the $450 million price tag) for a new arena for the Red Wings hockey team. The Wings owner Mike Ilitch’s net worth is estimated at over $3 billion.

Detroit’s City Council has proposed an ordinance that would require a developer to negotiate a CBA on any project receiving more than $300,000 in tax benefits. The Mayor is opposed, the chamber of commerce is opposed and the state legislature tried to pass legislation to outlaw all cities in the state from passing such ordinances.

But many folks in Detroit are still pushing–especially those living and working in low income neighborhoods whose tax dollars subsidize millionaire and billionaire developers. Check out the site of the Equitable Detroit Coalition and their fight for the Detroit CBA ordinance.