'Banks May Get Leeway To Label NFL Stadium Funding As Aid To Poor'
Credit: Nick Wass/Getty Images
December 16, 2019

That's the direct title from the Bloomberg story, and it's a good one because that's exactly what the Trump administration is trying to pull off, more tax breaks for the billionaire NFL owners with these sort of cagey loopholes. Obscene.

Source: Bloomberg

For decades, the U.S. has required banks to steer a portion of their money to people in poor neighborhoods. Now, under proposed rule changes, banks may finance upgrades to sports stadiums, call it helping the poor -- and potentially even get a generous tax break.

That scenario might seem oddly specific, but it’s what two regulators appointed by President Donald Trump said last week they may allow as they undertake the most significant rewrite of the Community Reinvestment Act in a quarter-century. The agencies drafted a long list hypothetical ways banks could seek to meet their obligations, including this sentence on page 100 of their proposal:

“Investment in a qualified opportunity fund, established to finance improvements to an athletic stadium in an opportunity zone that is also an LMI census tract.” (LMI refers to low- or moderate-income.)

There are well over a dozen NFL venues nestled in so-called opportunity zones. They include M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, home of the National Football League’s Ravens, which this year completed $120 million in upgrades such as a new sound system. In Denver, there’s Empower Field at Mile High, where the Broncos play. And in Las Vegas, a new stadium is being built for the Raiders. There also are facilities for professional baseball, basketball, soccer and hockey teams in the zones.

A spokesman for one of the agencies, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., declined to comment on any of the examples it listed while the proposal is open for public comment. Officials at the agency said such scenarios typically stem from their experience in tracking compliance with the reinvestment act and that they are eager to receive public feedback on what to allow in the final rule.

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