A Victory for Cities: Moynihan Admits He Struck out with Stadium Finance Moratorium
Shafroth, Frank, Nation's Cities Weekly
City leaders scored an important victory when Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) announced a strategic retreat in his efforts to impose a retroactive ban on municipal financing of sports and recreation facilities by cities and towns. Moynihan conceded that he had insufficient support in this Congress to make any progress on his proposed, retroactive ban on public financing of stadiums and recreational facilities in cities. The response by Moynihan to efforts by municipal leaders across the country clears the way for cities to proceed and ensures that cities will not be held hostage to an individual member of Congress' views about municipal authority and public priorities.
Moynihan issued a statement last week in the Congressional Record partially lifting the cloud which had been hanging over cities planning for more than $7 billion worth of repairs or construction of sports or recreation facilities used by professional athletes. The statement clears the way for municipal bond counsel to issue clean opinions allowing cities to move ahead with financing plans. The green light will help not just cities dealing with major professional football, baseball, and basketball facilities, but also-and perhaps more importantly- smaller cities and affected schools and community recreational facilities.
The new statement would eliminate any retroactive penalty on cities and make any prospective limits or ban on municipal financing ineffective unless and until the Senate Finance Committee in a new Congress acts on the proposed legislation.
On June 14, Moynihan had proposed legislation barring the use of tax exempt municipal financing by any city or town for stadiums, recreational facilities, or any other related improvements used by professional athletes effective as of June 14, 1996. …