Three Subsidy Stories You Might Have Missed This Week


1. The Buffalo Bills owners’ push to have New York taxpayers cover more than half the cost of a $1.4 billion new stadium has both supporters and critics. In a longform piece, Zach Williams explores why some believe the state and Erie County should fund the effort (they love the Bills and think Buffalo’s identity depends on having an NFL team) and why others think it would be a terrible investment (City and State NY).

“Every dollar local leaders bet on the Bills rather than investing in core public services comes at a cost to those other long-term opportunities” reads one analysis from the Tax Policy Center. “Putting taxpayer dollars into higher-return public amenities could benefit Buffalo in ways a taxpayer-funded NFL team can’t.”

2. The Wall Street Journal details how tech mogul Sean Parker pushed the federal government to enact Opportunity Zones, the boondoggle program that gives the wealthy a tax break for investing in low-income areas.

[…] There are no limits on how many people can take advantage of an OZ or how much tax revenue the US Treasury may forego. A few kinds of businesses are ruled out – no tanning salons, golf courses, or liquor stores – but there is no requirement that a project actually benefit residents of the Zone.

3. At Boondoggle, Pat Garofalo explains how corporate subsidies hurt small businesses.

[…] Explicitly designing tax credits so that larger firms receive all or most of the benefit means lawmakers are helping those larger firms entrench their dominance, making it easier for them to lower prices, expand operations, or make investments, because some portion of their costs are covered by the taxes paid by their competitors. And you can hardly blame the customers who go with the corporation that can charge them lower rates, even if they end up paying for that “discount” later when their state can’t make needed investments or jacks up other taxes to offset losses on silly corporate giveaways.

If you got this from a friend, sign up here. Subsidy Sheet is written by Tom Speaker, Policy Analyst at Reinvent Albany. Please send questions and tips to tom [at] We look forward to hearing from you!