Today The Washington Times published a column from Northern Virginia business and political leader Tim Parrish explaining the unique nature of the Commonwealth’s proposed public-private partnership to develop a sports and entertainment district in Potomac Yard, the deal’s protections for taxpayers, and the significant statewide benefits the project will deliver.
This follows columns from the National Landing Business Improvement District and Arlington Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Washington Partnership, former Secretary of Finance and Transportation Aubrey Layne, and Southwest Virginia business leaders Nancy Howell Agee and Heywood Fralin explaining the monumental opportunity that Virginia has to land two professional sports franchises and spur growth throughout Virginia and the greater Washington region.
Gov. Youngkin’s deal with Monumental Sports and Entertainment is good for Virginia
By Tim Parrish | Washington Times | Tuesday, February 6, 2024
When politicians strike a deal to build a new stadium or invite a sports team to their state, the typical framework for such deals is often questionable.
It usually looks something like this: New taxes or tax increases are used to finance the projects upfront. Billions of dollars in public resources are shelled out to build a shiny new stadium — often in the same city where a venue already exists. Billionaire owners glad-hand local officials, and taxpayers foot the bill.
But Gov. Glenn Youngkin is not a typical politician. And the partnership he struck with Monumental Sports and Entertainment is unquestionably good for Virginia.
The deal that Mr. Youngkin — a conservative and successful businessman with much experience in this arena — struck with Monumental is also highly unusual.
Consider recent deals for new stadiums elsewhere. Venues for the Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Las Vegas Raiders and Oklahoma City Thunder were all financed using some combination of state and local bonds. Some were also financed with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars upfront.
Those deals used traditional general obligation, or GO, bonds, which basically leave taxpayers on the hook to fund a project with funding that would otherwise be used for roads, water systems and other state infrastructure.
Mr. Youngkin took a different tack. Instead of a taxpayer-guaranteed GO bond, the governor made a deal with Monumental Sports and Entertainment to use a revenue bond tied solely to the arena itself. Revenue bonds are exactly what they sound like: They’re guaranteed to pay for themselves, solely and exclusively using the revenue generated from individual projects.
That’s good news for Virginia taxpayers. The new Entertainment District will fund itself with revenue generated by ticket sales, parking and other activities associated with the arena.