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Grosso seeks to prevent special taxpayer funding of new football stadium

For Immediate Release:
January 7, 2019
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, 202.286.1987 - mnocella@dccouncil.us

Grosso seeks to prevent special taxpayer funding of new football stadium

Washington, D.C. – In advance of the Council’s first legislative meeting of the new year, Councilmember David Grosso today re-introduced an interstate compact that would prohibit a race to the bottom between the District of Columbia and its neighboring jurisdictions of Maryland and Virginia to lure the Washington Football Team with taxpayer-funded giveaways.

“This compact sends a clear message to Dan Snyder: the District of Columbia and its neighbors will not be played for fools,” said Grosso. “Wealthy companies seek to pit jurisdictions against each other to see who will offer the greatest incentives–we saw this most recently with the Amazon HQ2 contest. Like Amazon, a football team worth over $1 billion should not need to rely on special government assistance to fund their facilities.”

The Washington Area Professional Football Team Franchise Facility Interstate Compact Establishment Act of 2019 creates an interstate compact that precludes members from providing or offering special public incentives or financing for the construction of facilities for the Washington Football Team.

Research shows that NFL stadiums do not generate the dramatic local economic growth promised and cities tend to not recoup their significant financial contributions through increased tax revenue.

“Funding a new stadium is just not in the District of Columbia’s best interest,” Grosso said. “Furthermore, District taxpayers’ money should not be used to further the commercial use of racist and derogatory terms that dishonor indigenous peoples.”

Maryland Delegate David Moon (D-Montgomery) plans to re-introduce the compact in the Maryland House of Delegates this month. Virginia Delegate Michael Webert (R-Fauquier) re-filed his version in the Virginia House of Delegates last week.

Grosso had previously introduced the compact in 2017.

Last month, Grosso sent a letter to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton urging her to oppose efforts by Mayor Muriel Bowser, Daniel Snyder, Republicans in the House of Representatives, and the Trump Administration to slip a provision into the must-pass end of year federal spending package that would pave the way for a return of the football team to RFK, as first reported by the Washington Post. With Democrats now in control of the House, it is unlikely such a provision will pass.

During his time on the Council, Grosso has repeatedly called for the team to change their name–a racial slur against American Indians–most recently joining indigenous peoples and activists to deliver petitions to the football team. In his first term in office, Grosso introduced and secured passage of a Council resolution calling on the team to change its name. He has also been a champion of legislation to end D.C.’s recognition of Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The interstate compact bill was introduced in the Council Secretary’s office ahead of tomorrow’s legislative meeting, the first of the new Council Period. From the dais, Grosso plans to introduce legislation to protect special education rights of youth defendants; legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana sales in the District of Columbia; and overhaul the way D.C. handles records of arrests, charges, and convictions in the District of Columbia to support reintegration of people with such records into the community.


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Washington Area Professional Football Team Franchise Facility Interstate Compact Establishment Act of 2019

Washington Area Professional Football Team Franchise Facility Interstate Compact Establishment Act of 2019

Introduced: January 7, 2019

Summary: To establish an Interstate Compact prohibiting a party state or a local jurisdiction from providing certain public incentives or financing for the construction or maintenance of facilities for a professional football team franchise in the Washington, D.C. area.

BILL TEXT (introduced Version) | PRESS RELEASE

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Councilmember Grosso urges Congresswoman Norton to oppose backdoor RFK deal

Citing the racist name and lack of transparency and community engagement, Councilmember Grosso today sent a letter to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton urging her to oppose efforts by Mayor Bowser, Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder, Republicans in the House of Representatives, and the Trump Administration to slip a provision into the must-pass end of year federal spending package that would pave the way for a return of the football team to RFK, as first reported by the Washington Post.

“The current effort is the latest ploy by the team and congressional Republicans to avoid public scrutiny,” wrote Grosso. “This process lacks transparency and there has been no engagement with District of Columbia residents or tribal leaders to afford them an opportunity to voice their concerns. The prospect that the District of Columbia would once again welcome a team whose name promotes prejudice and reinforces harmful ethnic stereotyping runs counter to the ideals of equality, diversity and inclusion for all that we have long embodied.”

In his time on the Council, Grosso has repeatedly called for the team to change their name–a racial slur against American Indians–most recently joining indigenous peoples and activists to deliver petitions to the football team. Last year, Grosso joined bipartisan lawmakers from Maryland and Virginia to introduce an interstate compact to prohibit all three jurisdiction from offering public incentives or financing for the construction or maintenance of facilities for the football team.

“As a vote on the appropriations bill could be imminent, there is an urgent need to do whatever is necessary to ensure that this backdoor attempt fails. I stand with the National Congress of American Indians, Advancement Project, NAACP, National Urban League, Race Forward, and other organizations working actively to oppose this effort and I urge you to do all you can to thwart this closed door process,” Grosso concluded.

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Washington Area Professional Football Team Franchise Facility Interstate Compact Establishment Act of 2017

Washington Area Professional Football Team Franchise Facility Interstate Compact Establishment Act of 2017

Introduced: February 6, 2017

Summary: To establish an Interstate Compact prohibiting a party state or a local jurisdiction from providing certain public incentives or financing for the construction or maintenance of facilities for a professional football team franchise in the Washington, D.C. area.

Councilmember Grosso's Introduction Statement:

Good morning. Thank you all for joining Delegate Moon and me here today.

As the Washington Football Team begins to explore options for relocating their football facilities, I believe it is important that D.C. clarify where we stand on how such a project would be financed.

So today I am introducing an interstate compact which prohibits the District from providing or offering special public incentives or financing for the construction of facilities for the Washington Football team.

More simply put, I don’t believe we should be offering special financial treatment in order to bring the Washington Football team back into the District of Columbia.

A football team worth over $1 billion should not need to rely on special government assistance to fund their facilities.

I especially do not public financing to go to a team with such a racist and derogatory name.

The city’s economy is thriving and our chief financial officer reports that the District’s financial health is strong.

Living in very uncertain times requires us to think more critically about how we financially plan for the future.

The events of the past two weeks have demonstrated that President Trump and the Republican Congress present a threat to that status. 

They are not above pulling federal funding over our determination to protect our immigrant communities and maintain our sanctuary status. 

Their plan to repeal Obamacare and leave tens of millions without health insurance across the country will be felt in all eight wards.

And the president’s nominee to be secretary of education makes it clear that funding for our schools could be undermined by misguided voucher policies.

We must be able protect the well-being of our residents, the education of our students, and the integrity of communities as these confrontations arise.

Regardless of our financial circumstances or the threat of federal overreach, research shows that NFL stadiums do not generate the significant local economic growth promised and cities tend to not recoup their significant financial contributions through increased tax revenue.

Funding a new stadium is just not in our city’s best interest at this time.

Furthermore, District tax payers’ money should not be used to further the commercial use of racist and derogatory terms that dishonors indigenous peoples.

Working across state lines on this issue is vital to ensure one state does not secure a competitive advantage over another in negotiations with the Washington Football Team.

We are still reaching out to Virginia legislators to find a champion for this issue in the General Assembly.

I want to thank Delegate Moon for his work on this interstate compact.  He will be introducing the companion to it in the Maryland House of Delegates.

He brought this idea to me and I was more than happy to be the sponsor of this legislation in D.C.

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