Major League Soccer investors are asking Missouri taxpayers to foot the bill for a new stadium in St. Louis. Luckily, our Governor-elect is standing in defense of hardworking taxpayers, realizing that this is an egregious example of corporate welfare. Governor-elect Greitens recently told journalists, “To be very clear, I have completely ruled out state funding for stadiums,” calling it “welfare for millionaires.”
Governor-elect Greitens is correct. It’s not the role of government to subsidize expensive sports stadiums. When municipalities are in the business of negotiating these contracts, taxpayers are put on the hook for unnecessary and risky spending that could otherwise fall to private enterprise. Our state learned this lesson first-hand when the NFL’s Rams left St. Louis for Los Angeles, leaving taxpayers holding the bag for about $144 million in debt and maintenance costs. A study by Harvard professor Judith Grant Long found that, on average, 78 percent of stadium costs fall on the taxpayers, with only 22 percent being paid for by team owners.
Rather than funding a new stadium at taxpayers’ expense, government officials should focus on the real needs of our community.
We applaud Governor-elect Greitens standing up for Missouri taxpayers and rejecting corporate welfare.