A Response on Taxpayer Funded Stadiums


August 15, 2017 11:15AM

There was a fairly negative article written about the Beacon Center’s statement on the potential taxpayer funded minor league stadium in Chattanooga, which you can read here. Many of the statements and arguments were incorrect or show that the author is misinformed. Here is a rebuttal to the piece by Chattanooga Times Free Press Sports Columnist, Jay Greeson.

*The red text is taken directly from the article and the black text below is my response.

Cunningham went on to note, “Sports stadiums are like a reverse Robin Hood, forcing lower-income taxpayers who can’t afford to attend games to subsidize wealthier ones who can. Government should never take from the poor and give to the rich.”

Side question: Isn’t that exactly what the Tennessee Lottery is for all intents and purposes?

This comparison is a major issue and one that we see all too often. Comparing stadium subsidies to the Tennessee lottery is like comparing McDonald’s to a thief, saying they both take your money. Since residents have the option on whether they want to “invest” their money in lottery tickets, as opposed to stadium deals where they are forced to pay for a stadium, that is a poor comparison.

Well, that’s for us to decide, be it through referendum or special tax votes or what have you.

Personally, I would be willing to listen to the plans and pitches for public funds working with Hardball’s investments and other private money to assemble the mega-plex.

The issue with stadium incentive packages is that they aren’t often debated in the public sphere, but behind closed doors. When the deal is finally up for public discussion, it is too late as the decision has often already been made. While it is nice that Greeson thinks that the public has a major say in stadium deals like this, they are almost always left completely out of the final decision. That is why we have come out in opposition to this potential taxpayer funded stadium because we aren’t willing to sit on the sidelines and watch it happen and then complain when it is too late. We are here to stop this deal and other stadium deals that take money from taxpayers.

It’s certainly not something we need a think tank in Nashville to start a campaign against before we even start having discussions.

The Beacon Center is a think tank that represents the whole state of Tennessee, not just Nashville. We have many donors and supporters in Chattanooga and the surrounding area.  We have long advocated for taxpayers across the state and our organization is leading the charge against corporate welfare, which includes taxpayer-funded stadiums. This was just a low blow by a (Georgia born) author trying to discredit our argument by using attacks rather than facts.

I love the Lookouts and that experience, and would hate to lose that.

So would we, the difference is that we don’t think the sustainability of the franchise should rely on taxpayers being forced to fund it.