Michael Rathbone
There is a controversy brewing in Kansas City over the Royals, and for once it does not have anything to do with yet another disappointing season on the field. According to one report, the Royals collected close to $13 million in taxpayer money and spent close to $5 million of that money on employee salaries and payroll taxes. In effect, the Royals are accused of using taxpayer money to pay their own taxes. The taxpayer money comes from a fund (named the RMMO account, which stands for repairs, maintenance, management, and operations) that originally was sold to taxpayers as a fund focused on repairs and maintenance at Kauffman Stadium. I am not going to pass judgment on whether the Royals are guilty of doing anything improper nor am I going to accuse anybody of malfeasance. I will let the facts come out and be what they are.

That said, why do government officials put taxpayers in this position of their money possibly being misspent? Well, cities usually put up taxpayer monies in order to prevent their local sports teams from leaving town. The justifications for doing so can range from a city striving to create an economic boom or just for a sense of civic pride. Kansas City got an All-Star Game after it helped fund renovations to Kauffman Stadium. Yet combined with the fact that public financing of sports stadiums cannot be justified economically, taxpayers have to go through headaches like the one mentioned here.

Sports stadiums should not be subsidized with public money. If a sports franchise wants a new stadium, it should pay for the stadium with its own money. Not only would it prevent public money from being spent on activities that would not benefit the local economy, it would avoid creating such issues in the first place.

About the Author

Michael Rathbone
Policy Researcher
Michael Rathbone was a policy researcher at the Show-Me Institute. He is a native of Saint Louis and a 2008 graduate of Saint Louis University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering.