Posted by 14 August 2016
The Washington Redskins may be coming to Virginia. Would the state benefit if taxpayers shelled out for a new stadium?
Virginia Governor Terry McCauliffe is having what he calls “very serious negotiations” to persuade the Washington Redskins to move to Northern Virginia. While the Redskins’ current lease in Maryland is not up for another decade, the team is already looking at its options for future stadiums.
Governor McCauliffe would like the state to use its resources to persuade the team to move across the Potomac River. However, he also says, “It’s got to make sense for the taxpayers of Virginia.”
Will such a deal make sense for taxpayers? It may be possible, but it will be difficult. The academic literature on the economic impact of stadiums and the return to taxpayers is summed up by researchers from the Brookings Institution:
A new sports facility has an extremely small (perhaps even negative) effect on overall economic activity and employment. No recent facility appears to have earned anything approaching a reasonable return on investment. No recent facility has been self-financing in terms of its impact on net tax revenues. Regardless of whether the unit of analysis is a local neighborhood, a city, or an entire metropolitan area, the economic benefits of sports facilities are de minimus.
Virginians may gain some pride from having the Washington Redskins located within their commonwealth. However, as Governor McCauliffe works to lure the team, he should be aware of the ways that stadium subsidies can go wrong.
Do you support using taxpayer dollars to subsidize sports stadiums?
Posted by 08 July 2016
Posted by 28 June 2016
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker is standing firm against raising the gas tax without cutting taxes elsewhere. Some legislators are pushing to increase the gas tax to fund already-scheduled projects. Do you support a higher gas tax if there are no offsetting cuts in other taxes?
Posted by 28 June 2016
In November, North Carolina voters could be asked to approve a constitutional amendment that would limit income tax rates to 5.5%. Do you think that it is good policy to enshrine tax limits in state constitutions?
Posted by 23 June 2016
According to Capitol reporter Tim Skubick writing for Mlive, last November the Michigan lottery quietly began letting individuals buy lottery tickets online. The number of online users has grown 300 percent, from 86,000 the first month to 322,000 now, with sales of $147 million.
Elsewhere in the Capitol, a Senate committee has advanced Senate Bills 889 and 890 to the full body for consideration. The bills would allow casinos in the state to enter the internet gambling market, subject to a 10 percent tax. A fiscal analysis suggests the move may or may not increase state revenues, because it could divert sales from the lottery.
None of the above addresses the ethical concerns surrounding state governments not just being in the gambling business but advertising heavily to entice individuals to gamble.
Research suggests that low-income and minority individuals disproportionately spend money on lottery gambling, where even more than casinos “the house” is the only real winner. In other words, government lotteries prey upon those least able to afford them.
Posted by 21 June 2016
One limited government group is urging Congress not to enact individual spending bills this year. Instead, it proposes funding the government at current spending levels for the next two years and working on a plan to cut spending in 2018. This would end the threat of a government shutdown and give Congress time to find ways to trim spending. What do you think?
Posted by 19 June 2016
In Pennsylvania, legislators are looking to expand gambling and increase tobacco taxes in order to balance the budget. Do you think it’s right to single out gamblers and smokers to pay for government services enjoyed by all Pennsylvanians?
Posted by 12 May 2016
Posted by 11 May 2016
Some cities are looking for revenue by imposing special taxes on sugar-sweetened drinks. Do you think this is a good way to protect the public health? Or are cities simply targeting soda consumers to make a quick buck?
Posted by 06 May 2016
According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania has high liquor taxes but low beer taxes compared to other states. Do you think high alcohol taxes are justified? Or do you think the government shouldn’t be targeting alcohol drinkers to pay excessive tax rates?