"Taxpayers should not be asked to subsidize sports organizations already benefiting widely from willing fans and turning a profit"
Reader David passed along Tom Coburn's (R-Oklahoma) "Waste Book," released just before the election where the senator outlined wasteful spending by the United States government. Coburn's full quote:
"Taxpayers should not be asked to subsidize sports organizations already benefiting widely from willing fans and turning a profit, while claiming to be non-profit organizations."
Among the examples of waste cited by Coburn? The non-profit, 501(c) status of professional sports leagues, namely the NFL and PGA Tour.
Unfortunately, whoever wrote the report for Coburn (A) does not know the difference between the PGA Tour and PGA of America, and (B) he neglects to mention the PGA Tour's charitable donations, especially compared to the other leagues.
As evidence of for-profit activities, Coburn's Waste Book cites "PGA" commissioner Tim Finchem's $5.2 million salary in 2010 and "over $900 million in revenue, mostly through television rights, tournament earnings and sponsorships, and royalties."
From a Fox News report after the release of Coburn's book (PDF):
In all, the 2012 Waste Book report details 100 examples totaling nearly $19 billion. Coburn acknowledges that's a drop in the bucket in contrast to the overall federal deficit, which tops $16 trillion, but he says the items are snapshots of the bigger problem.
"Would you agree with Washington that these represent national priorities, or would you conclude these reflect the out-of-touch and out-of-control spending threatening to bankrupt our nation’s future?" he said.
The PGA Tour part of the report, screen-captured because I'm too lazy to transcribe:
In light of many professional golfers lamenting the election results and in particular, government debt, no doubt the PGA Tour's finest will agree with Coburn that the PGA Tour's tax status needs to be changed?