Friday, January 20, 2012

The Great Sports Swindle Redux

It is rare when I actually agree with Florida Sen. Mike Bennett. This may be the only time ever. Bennett and Florida House Rep. Frank Artiles are attempting to get professional sports stadiums that have received state tax revenue to return money. The reason is to sports facilities were suppose to be used for the homeless, on nights when there wasn't an event.

These organizations have failed to follow the law for over 20 years," said Artiles, in a statement. "This is simply the State of Florida holding them accountable."

Sunlife Stadium (home of the Miami Dolphins) has received $37 million. American Airlines Arena (home of the Miami Heat) has received $27.5 million. Both venues are citing as violating the law. I am positive that the Tampa Bay Lightning and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not used their facilities to house the homeless.

The law is stupid for countless reasons. I have written repeatedly on this blog on the needs of the homeless. That said, why did lawmakers believe that using private businesses to house the homeless would be a good idea. These venues are built for sports and concerts. Furthermore, it was stupid to believe tax incentives would convince sports teams to house the homeless. These teams would just take the money and ignore the law. Which is exactly what they did.

I have written repeatedly on economic studies that find that sports venues have either zero or negative economic impact to their communities. Corporate welfare to sports teams are just a drain on tax revenue. The state legislator could have built several homeless shelters with the money they gave to pro teams.

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