How Much Money, If Any, Should Virginia Spend to Attract Professional Sports?
Lawmakers in Richmond are tacking a lot of issues this year, including a debate over using public money for professional sports.
Should Virginia kick in hundreds of millions of dollars to provide incentives to help attract professional sports teams? Republican Delegate Michael Webert of Fauquier County says no.
“$300 million is a lot of money that could be used for other things. When it comes to economic benefit, funding education for 100,000 students would probably have a greater economic impact than a professional stadium.”
He has one bill that would have Virginia join an interstate compact with Maryland and DC to prohibit incentives for a Washington area professional football team franchise facility. And he has another bill that would just flat out prohibit public funds for any professional sports teams. Senator Chap Petersen, a Democrat from Fairfax City, says that’s a solution in search of a problem.
“A stadium will likely be privately owned, and likely will be reusable for all types of uses — sports teams, concerts, multi-use venue. For example, most sports stadiums now have mixed-use development around it, maybe a commercial shopping mall attached to it.”
Petersen says it would be irresponsible to pass up all the potential tax revenue that would come with professional sports. Webert says it would be irresponsible to subsidize sports at the expense of students.