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Reviews | Virginia uses tax money the wrong way to lure Washington Commanders Stadium

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Localities in the DC area are scrambling to land the new stadium planned by Washington commanders. But there is a right way and a wrong way to deploy taxpayers’ money for this purpose. Maryland is doing it the right way. Virginia is not. The jury is out on the District of Columbia.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, has made it clear that the state will not offer money to help billionaire Daniel Snyder build a stadium to replace the FedEx field in Landover, which commanders plan to vacate in 2027. He received no backlash from lawmakers in Annapolis, who passed a bill authorizing up to $400 million in borrowing — not for a new stadium but to tear down FedEx Field and, more specifically, launch a shiny new development in the nearby desert. This would help avoid a blow to the local economy should the commanders leave and help turn nearby Largo into a plausible town center for the surrounding community of Prince George’s County. It would get a $16 million amphitheater, civic plaza, public market, library and other amenities near the subway’s eastern terminus for the Blue and Silver lines.

It’s a smart way for Maryland to say to COs: Hey, we’ll be happy if the team stays in place – and we’re ready to improve the neighborhood – but we’re not building stadiums for billionaires who can afford this on their own. Plus, another National Football League team, the Los Angeles Rams, just won a Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium, their home ground, which owner Stan Kroenke built with $5 billion in private funds. If the Rams owner can get by without milking the taxpayers, so can Mr. Snyder.

Unfortunately, this lesson seems lost on Virginia. While no deal has been finalized by state lawmakers in Richmond, they appear set to pump up to $350 million in tax revenue into the state for a new Commanders Stadium. It’s a good deal for Mr. Snyder but not for Virginians.

Admittedly, this is far less than the billion dollars in taxes that the state initially seemed ready to allocate to the team. Granted, Virginia is also the most populous state in the nation without a big league sports franchise; he could be suffering from a case of franchise envy as he looks across his borders at North Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland and DC, all of which have plenty. But that’s no excuse for debauchery in the service of a very wealthy man.

DC, for its part, isn’t really in a position to compete at the moment – the feds have the only plausible location for a new arena, at the current site of RFK Stadium, and Congress doesn’t seem ready to. pass legislation to sell it to the city.

Congressional reluctance is rooted at least in part in justified concerns about Mr. Snyder, the team’s commanders and culture, which have been the subject of investigations into sexual harassment and, more recently, improprieties financial statements following allegations that the team hid and withheld revenue sharing. NFL funds. These probes should serve as a warning: Mr. Snyder and his team are not worthy of public money.