The Nevada General Assembly will be voting on a bill that would raise lodging taxes in Clark County to help pay for a new $1.9 billion stadium. Americans for Tax Reform is encouraging members of the Nevada Assembly and Gov. Sandoval to reject this tax increase.
Unfortunately for taxpayers, the bill – Senate Bill 1 – quickly moved through the Senate on Tuesday in a 16-5 vote.
If approved by the Assembly and signed into law by Governor Brian Sandoval (R), the bill would increase the room tax nearly 1.4 percent in order to fund $750 million of general obligation bonds over 30 years to finance a new football stadium.
While advocates may believe pouring tax dollars into a new football stadium to attract the Raiders may lead to economic growth in the state, the weight of the evidence says otherwise. As noted by the Wall Street Journal in 2015, stadiums “displace entertainment dollars that would be spent elsewhere locally” and do not lead to economic growth:
Research on the issue has piled up during the past two decades. The general conclusion: A city’s economy doesn’t get a bump from bringing in a new sports team or building a stadium—and scarce economic-development dollars could be put to better use with other investments.
“You’re not going to get income growth; you’re not going to get tax growth; you’re not going to get employment growth,” said Dennis Coates, an economist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County who studies the economic effects of professional sports teams and facilities.
A 2007 study in the Journal of Sports Economics examined cities that gained professional teams. It found adding a team did “not have a positive economic impact on the local community” and didn’t raise regional incomes.
What’s more, some teams want to move after only two or three decades in a facility. The Miami Arena, a onetime home to the Miami Heat, was open just 20 years before being demolished.
Mr. Coates, who has published work with similar findings, said even in cities that lure teams from outside, the new facilities generally attract entertainment dollars that would be spent elsewhere locally.
Government has no business taking millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars to pay for a stadium for a private sports team. Stadiums should be funded with private money. A good example can be found locally with Nevada’s new NHL franchise and its T-Mobile Arena, built with private funds.
Americans for Tax Reform opposes Nevada Senate Bill 1 and urges members of the General Assembly to vote against it.