NFL Wire News

Georgia gives Falcons, Braves tax break on stadium expenses


Georgia has agreed to give the Atlanta Falcons and Braves an exemption from paying sales tax on construction materials for building their new stadiums.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the tax break will save each team millions of dollars in addition to the hefty public subsidies they already are receiving.

According to the report, the disclosures have infuriated critics who are against the use of public funds to help wealthy corporate owners build new facilities they could afford on their own — and the new stadiums will increase the value of the franchises.

William Perry, the executive director of Common Cause Georgia, told the newspaper that the decision to give tax breaks to sports teams is not a good 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.”

On the other side of the argument, tax credits sometimes are necessary for developments which will generate revenue for the state and local governments.

“We’re pumping a lot of money into the system,” Mike Plant, the Braves’ executive vice president of business operations, told the newspaper.

Plant estimates SunTrust Park and the associated mixed-use development will generate about $28 million in sales and property taxes when opened in 2017.

The Georgia Supreme Court last Monday upheld the city of Atlanta’s plans to aid in financing the Falcons’ new $1.4 billion stadium.

The decision allowed the city to move forward with issuing $200 million in bonds toward the project. The stadium is scheduled to open in 2017.

Construction of the retractable roof stadium for the Falcons is underway in downtown Atlanta. Falcons owner Arthur Blank and the city plan to bid to host the Super Bowl in 2019 or 2020.

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