Three Subsidy Stories You Might Have Missed This Week


1. At Boondoggle, Pat Garofalo writes about the fascinating ways a few state and local governments have tried to rein in stadium subsidies. One way, of course, is to simply ban subsidies, but another is to allow local governments to try to buy a stake in the stadium if a team receiving subsidies tries to relocate before the lease is up.

I have no idea whether the rest of the Illinois legislature would go along with such a proposal, but I love the idea: Not that I think its widespread adoption would result in much public ownership of sports franchises, mind you, but because it would discourage teams from seeking subsidies, lest someday they want to move and be forced to consider public or other local ownership offers.

2. According to Good Jobs First, Amazon has won a record number of state and local subsidies in 2021 – about $650 million in total (Financial Times).

“I was hopeful public officials would step back and say: ‘We’re in such a difficult situation, we have to stop subsidising very wealthy companies’,” said Kasia Tarczynska, research analyst at Good Jobs First. “Unfortunately, it’s the opposite.”

3. There’s a new book about Opportunity Zones out, and in an interview, author David Wessel talks about everything wrong with the program, a notorious Trump handout to wealthy investors (NPR).

…The way this program works, I think it’s giving more tax breaks to rich people than it’s producing jobs and prosperity in poor neighborhoods. And that’s because of the way it was designed. It doesn’t have any strings or not substantial strings. And what that means is there’s nothing to require this money go for a project that lifts the fortunes of the people who live in the neighborhood called an opportunity zone.

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!