Taxpayers To Be Billed a Billion Dollars for Buffalo Bills’ New Stadium

The NFL’s Buffalo Bills are probably most well-known for losing four consecutive Super Bowls in the late 1980s and early ’90s—a remarkable accomplishment ultimately overshadowed by historic failure.

It is time for the Bills to once more be in sports infamy. New York Governor. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat announced that the group would be awarded what The New York Times Calls for the biggest taxpayer-funded stadium subvention in NFL history.

The estimated $1.4 Billion stadium project will be funded by $850 million in contributions from the state and local tax payers. Erie County will contribute $250 million to the sum. However, the majority of state funds go towards the project. The new Bills stadium is being built right across the street from their existing home. It’s an impressive contribution for a government that spent just over $1.5 million on its budget in 2021. Terry Pegula is the Bills’ multi-billionaire owner. The NFL, however, will loan $200 million to cover the rest. Times.

Hochul stated, in accordance with the Associated Press, that “it’s a great moment for Western New York” and was proud to have negotiated such a favorable deal for the state, as well as our many, many supporters.

However, Hochul may be criticized by New York voters if she truly believes this to be a fair deal.

As a matter of fact, The Field of Schemas blogger Neil deMause parses in his detailed rundown of the stadium deal, the actual public subsidies probably exceed $1 billion—and that doesn’t account for things like interest payments on the borrowing that the state and county will likely have to do to finance the agreement. According to deMause, the agreement puts the public in a position to pay $6 million each year over 30 years for upgrades to the stadium, and an additional $6.6 million every 15 years for “maintenance, repair, and maintenance.” This amounts to $160million in additional taxpayer funding for the project, which is well above the $850 million cost.

Hochul and others are as usual pledging to make this public investment worthwhile because the stadium will create an economic boom in western New York. Hochul stated Monday that New Yorkers should be confident in the fact that the stadium will generate economic activity.

It’s unlikely that this will happen.

To make ends meet with the $1 billion in public expenses, the stadium will need to bring in $70 million annually in additional tax revenue for 30 years. This is the same reason why paying off your mortgage for 30 years takes more money than you would spend on a home. Hochul referenced Monday’s $27 million figure as Hochul mentioned it during Monday’s announcement. The state officials and Bills have been circulating a study claiming that the project will bring in $27 million per year for the state. But even if you take that study at face value—and you probably shouldn’t—generating $27 million annually for 30 years isn’t enough for taxpayers to break even on the costs of the project.

What about the job opportunities? Hochul touted the potential for the new stadium to create 10,000 jobs—but since the Bills are already located in Buffalo, any permanent jobs with the team are unlikely to be affected by the construction of a new stadium. So those are almost entirely going to be temporary construction jobs—jobs that will cost the public about $100,000 each.

Hochul describes this as a “good bargain.”

Pegula Sports and Entertainment (the joint venture which owns the Bills) is one of the entities that has agreed with the governor. Ron Raccuia (the Pegula Sports and Entertainment executive that led negotiations for the Bills side) told the A.P., “This is an excellent investment for all.”

Hochul, and Bills billionaire owners of the Bills might not receive a warm welcome from taxpayers. The state legislature still must approve the agreement. State Rep. Ron Kim (D–Queens) issued a loud rebuke to the agreement via Twitter:

Rep. Tom Suozzi (D–N.Y.The congressman, who announced his plans to challenge Hochul at this year’s governornatorial elections, is. criticizedHochul was criticized for “forcing New Yorkers to give their tax dollars in order to make a billionaire donor even wealthier.” New Yorkers are now saddled with more taxes, as she’ll be enjoying the new skybox. Sochie Nnaemeka is the director of New York’s Working Families Party. saidIt is wrong for public money to be spent “subsidizing the new stadium of an oil billionaire.”

The real costs of the stadium deal are significant, of course—this would be the biggest public handout in NFL history, after all—but any assessment of the Bills’ new stadium deal must also consider the unseen costs. Public spending can be a process of prioritizing because the public has limited resources. The decision to spend $1 billion on a stadium means that same $1 billion can’t be used for something else—or left in taxpayers’ wallets.

There is more to western New York than just a brand new stadium. Buffalo’s population has fallen to half its 1960 level. Although some people fled harsh winters in the area, many others moved to better economic opportunities. The combined burden of state and local taxes in New York is among the worst in the nation, according to Tax Foundation. It makes the state difficult for people to live or to open a new business.

This means America’s richest taxpayers will now be asked to pay the Bills’ bill for their new stadium. Is that possible?

“I was disappointed but not surprised to see NY spend an inordinate amount of taxpayer cash on a stadium that is being used by billionaires for their franchise,” saysDavid Ditch is a lifelong Bills fan. He also works as a transportation policy analyst for the conservative Heritage Foundation. Although Upstate New York will never be able to match the climate and business conditions of other places, it is not in a position to win.

Bills fans may have endured four consecutive Super Bowl defeats and in January one of the worst playoff losses in NFL history. Hochul is now threatening to strike them with the wallets.