” This weekend marks the start of the NFL season, and with it comes the fanfare and attention that being the most lucrative professional sport in America has come to demand. However, this success has fueled the lucrative stadium financing deals that have been secured by these teams over the past 20 years, often at the expense of taxpayers.
Take, for example, the stadium deal given to the Cincinnati Bengals by Hamilton County in Ohio. Still the most lucrative subsidy in the history of professional football, taxpayers were left paying 94 percent of the $449.8 million tab. This amount doesn’t include other costs in the generous lease, such as the agreement by the county to cover all of the costs of operation and capital improvements. The lease also leaves taxpayers on the hook to fund projects that have not even been invented yet, such things as “ticketless entry systems,” “stadium self-cleaning machines,” and even “holographic replay machines.”
The Cincinnati Bengals are certainly not alone in getting these sorts of publicly-funded gifts. The Buffalo Bills recently obtained $95 million in subsidies for stadium upgrades. In return, the state of New York will be given a luxury suite to promote the sorts of corporate handouts that the state can give to other businesses. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons will receive $200 million from the city of Atlanta toward a new stadium, funded through bonds backed by the city’s hotel-motel tax. The Kansas City Chiefs and the Carolina Panthers have also recently received generous taxpayer-funded stadium deals. The list goes on. Nearly every NFL stadium built since 1997 has received some public funding.”
See Also : A Closer Look at Stadium Subsidies
The Nation: Stop The Subsidy-Sucking Sports Stadiums
Economist’s View: Should Stadiums be Subsidized?
” If a new Gallup poll is to be trusted, tea party fatigue has firmly set in among the American public.
The survey, released Thursday, indicates that 22 percent of Americans support the tea party, which anchors the conservative wing of the GOP. The number marks a 10 percentage point drop from the movement’s peak in the wake of the Republican Party’s 2010 takeover of the House of Representatives.
Whether it is tea party loyalists’ relentless drive to upend President Obama’s health-care initiative, or, more generally, the near-constant intraparty bickering that has divided the Republican Party, the numbers reflect relatively high public dissatisfaction with the tea party’s push for conflict over compromise.”
The Founding Fathers were in the minority too .
The IRS Intervened in Tea Party Elections
” Did the IRS intervene in Federal election campaigns for Congress? According to the Washington Times, U.S. Treasury investigative special agent Dennis Martel has uncovered a new example of political abuse.
On March 9, 2010, Christine O’Donnell’s personal income tax records were illegally accessed by a Delaware public official. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) reports that a previously-undisclosed “back door” to the IRS computer system was used to invade the privacy of Christine O’Donnell’s tax records.
Who knew? It turns out that state government criminal investigators can directly — though illegally — access IRS records through a “back door.” Along with O’Donnell, at least four other political candidates and four conservative donors have been identified so far as victims of this abuse.
A Congressional investigation of the IRS “back door” conducted by Sen. Charles Grassley [R - IA] is now under way. However, even Grassley, Martel, and the Washington Times have not yet put all the pieces together.
Christine O’Donnell ran against Joe Biden for that same office in 2008. Most of O’Donnell’s extended family got audited by the IRS right after Uncle Joe was sworn in as V.P. in January 2009. She is one of six siblings. The statistical probability of so many relatives being suddenly audited all together is like a dozen lightning strikes.”
” A group of conservative congressmen is clamoring to bolster the Republican Party’s anti-tax brand as GOP governors break ranks in support of expanded online sales taxes.
At issue is legislation called the Marketplace Fairness Act, which passed the Senate by a wide margin in May. Earlier this month, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte appeared to predict it wouldn’t pass the House in its current form, though he later clarified in a statement that he was “open to considering legislation concerning this topic.”
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz joined House conservatives and anti-tax activist Grover Norquist in criticizing the bill Tuesday. Cruz called the Senate vote on the Marketplace Fairness Act “Washington at its worst.” “
Illustration by Nate Beeler
” If reports of political targeting of conservatives by the Internal Revenue Service shocked the nation, they didn’t seem that surprising to many other groups who experienced problems with the tax agency in the past.
Liberal groups such as Greenpeace and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals say they were targeted, too, by past administrations. The conservative group Judicial Watch says it was singled out for tax scrutiny during the Clinton administration because it supported impeachment.
Charges of politically motivated targeting by the IRS are notoriously difficult to prove or disprove. The older cases differ from the current scandal and the evidence of political attacks is circumstantial. But in interviews with McClatchy, leaders of these well-known activist groups assert they were targeted during Bush and Clinton administrations.
“We have been targeted,” said Jeff Kerr, chief counsel for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “
” Many audits are triggered by anonymous or direct information about a group or citizen, a so-called “information item.” The IRS also offers rewards to tipsters equal to about 10 percent of taxes owed.”
The entire concept of anonymous tips that is utilized throughout the law enforcement community is merely an open invitation to corruption , retaliation , spite and greed . It needs to be ended . It harkens back to the old Soviet Union control method of pitting neighbor against neighbor and , just as in the USSR is destroying civil society .
“The process of obtaining an exemption is a privilege. Not everyone in the United States is exempt from taxation . . . you have to meet highly specific criteria, that Congress decided, not the IRS . . . and jump through hoops and answer questions,” he said, adding that he never witnessed political motivation but worked in Washington during the Nixon revelations and was shocked. “I knew a lot of people and nobody I know has ever had that experience.”
The concept of exemptions is another idea that does nothing but foster the culture of abuse of power . Who is to decide who gets “special” treatment ? What ever happened to the founding notion of “equal protection before the law” ?
Further reading on the history of IRS abuse .
RealClearPolitics - History of IRS Abuse
Cato Institute Highlights History of IRS Abuse
Factbox: IRS’s rich history of scandals, political abuse
IRS Has a Long History of Political Abuse - Hit & Run : Reason.com
History of IRS Abuse:A real eyeopener
IRS Scandal Echoes a Long History of Political Harassment