Georgia gives Falcons a tax break on stadium expenses

Monday, Mar 23, 2015

The taxpayers will be paying an even larger share of the costs for the Falcons’ new stadium.

Georgia has agreed to give the Falcons (and the Atlanta Braves, who are also building a new stadium) an exemption from paying sales tax when they buy building materials for the stadium. With an enormous project like the building of a stadium, that amounts to a tax break that could be in the tens of millions of dollars.

William Perry, the executive director of Common Cause Georgia, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the decision to give tax breaks to sports teams is a bad deal for the average taxpayer.

“I don’t think that most people know that on top of the taxes collected for these facilities, that they aren’t paying sales taxes themselves,” Perry said. “It’s this kind of thing that causes the total public investment to keep going up and up.”

But the head of the state agency that oversees the building of the Falcons’ stadium says the risk of losing Georgia’s beloved NFL team makes it worth it for the public to contribute. And that’s really what it comes down to: If the taxpayers in Georgia won’t finance a stadium for the Falcons, the taxpayers somewhere else will. Until every municipality agrees to stop building stadiums for sports teams, the owners will keep taking the taxpayers’ money.

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