Billions stolen from tax payers
February 2, 2014
Alexis Garcia has produced a video for Reason.tv showing how an NFL franchise is not a good idea, especially for cash-strapped cities.
“The NFL is good at fleecing taxpayers,” ESPN columnist Gregg Easterbrook and the author of The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America told Garcia. “It’s about a billion dollars a year I’ve calculated in public subsidies to NFL owners and this is a group that consists almost entirely of billionaires and yet receiving significant public subsidies every year.”
The organization closely resembles the corporate class sucking the life blood out of America. Like banksters and transnational companies, it depends of corporate socialism. It buys politicians who agree to use tax dollars to subsidize operations and build lavish stadiums. It is owned by billionaires. (See an interactive Muckety map here.)
“Judith Grant Long, a Harvard University professor of urban planning, calculates that league-wide, 70 percent of the capital cost of NFL stadiums has been provided by taxpayers, not NFL owners. Many cities, counties, and states also pay the stadiums’ ongoing costs, by providing power, sewer services, other infrastructure, and stadium improvements,” Easterbook writes.
The NFL does not pay a dime in taxes. The IRS says it is a 501(c)(6) tax-exempt organization. Like the Rockefellers and the elite, the NFL exploits the tax code to avoid paying taxes the rest of us pay at gunpoint. The tea party may have difficulty gaining tax exempt status, but it is not a problem for the billionaire owned NFL.
But the NFL is hardly run like a charity on a shoestring with a volunteer staff. Roger Goodell, the current NFL commissioner, for instance pulls down $30 million a year. Former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue received nearly $8.6 million in 2011. Five executive vice presidents received multi-million-dollar compensation, ranging from $1.5 million to $8.8 million, notes Laurie Bennett.
“Goodell’s taking some $30 million from an enterprise made more profitable because it hides behind its tax-exempt status does not seem materially different from, say, the Fannie Mae CEO’s taking a gigantic bonus while taxpayers were bailing out his company,” writes Easterbrook.
In September, Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn introduced legislation to put an end to the NFL’s tax exemption.
Coburn’s bill, however, is not a sure deal.
“Once tax breaks, subsidies, mandates or whatever goodies Washington comes up with are in place, it’s almost impossible to get rid of them,” notes Bonner Cohen, a senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research.