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D.C. United responds to proposed ticket tax

According to Post colleague Nikita Stewart, a D.C. Council committee is recommending the adoption of a new tax on sporting events to generate an estimated $3.7 million in revenue to fund city recreation programs. Get this: The Nationals would be exempt. Read all the details here.

In response, D.C. United President Kevin Payne issued this statement:

"We have not yet had a chance to even read the legislation, but I'm surprised we weren't advised in advance that this tax was going to be proposed. D.C. United and United for D.C. [the club's charitable arm] have traditionally worked closely with the Parks and Recreation Department, and provides soccer programs in many locations in the District where they have not, so we generally support better funding of their efforts. We look forward to discussing this issue with the Council and the Mayor's office at the earliest opportunity. I'm sure our fans would like to see the District better maintain RFK Stadium and its grounds and parking lots, if they're going to be asked to pay more in ticket taxes."


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By Steve Goff  |  May 11, 2010; 4:24 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  | Tags: D.C., D.C. United, Kevin Payne, Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Washington  
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Comments

"But I'm surprised we weren't advised in advance that this tax was going to be proposed"

A huge indication that KP is really out of touch?

Posted by: sec133row5 | May 11, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"I'm sure our fans would like to see the District better maintain RFK Stadium and its grounds and parking lots, if they're going to be asked to pay more in ticket taxes."

*Zing!*

Posted by: EdTheRed | May 11, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Washington DC leadership sucks to high hell...Liberals, socialists and commies trying to tax every last dime out of us!

Posted by: alan19 | May 11, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

The committee didn't even vote on the tax, apparently because Thomas couldn't (or didn't even try to) convince 2 of the other 4 members of his committee to support it. Thomas wants people to think he's doing something for recreational programs. So for now, Thomas is just telling the world he intends grandstand at next week's budget vote.

There's a 50-50 chance that the other councilmembers were just as surprised as Kevin Payne is.

Posted by: hungrypug | May 11, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

"Get this: The Nationals would be exempt."

Well, the Nationals already pay a ticket tax to the District. I believe it's 10% of the price (same with concessions) - higher than what the other teams would be forced to contribute.

Posted by: Kev29 | May 11, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

While I'm obviously not happy about the possibility of this, and while I think KP's point is an EXTREMELY good one that I am glad he has made, I'm absolutely FURIOUS that Nats tickets are excluded. The article mentions that it's in the team's contract, so I guess I'm just screaming into the wind on it, but man, that's ridiculous.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | May 11, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

MEOW, Kevin!

Maybe the Club could do something about the abysmal food and service it has been providing to its field level customers. Surely that's not the District's fault too.

Posted by: fedssocr | May 11, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Dear Washington DC:

So long farewell auf wiedersehen good night,
I hate to go and leave this pretty sight,
So long farewell auf wiedersehen adieu,
Adieu adieu to yieu and yieu and yieu

Warmest regards,

Kevin Payne
Middle Atlantic United

Posted by: OWNTF | May 11, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"...a D.C. Council committee is recommending the adoption of a new tax..."

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | May 11, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

@sec133row5:

I think it's more an indication the city council has no love for any sports franchise in this city (not that the Lerners have done a single positive thing to sweeten the climate at City Hall).

Posted by: phburris | May 11, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight, DC United which has been in DC for 14 years and plays in a dump gets to subsidize the johnny come lately, poor Nats in their gleeming Mega bucks palace.

Posted by: dcufan531 | May 11, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

The article mentions that it's in the team's contract, so I guess I'm just screaming into the wind on it, but man, that's ridiculous.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | May 11, 2010 4:47 PM

Were you equally ecstatic to learn that the Nationals would pay the city a 10% tax on all tickets when they signed that contract?

Posted by: Kev29 | May 11, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Baltimore United sounds about right about now.

The fact that the Nats would be exempt is just spitting in the face of every DC sports fan.

Posted by: delantero | May 11, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

phburris is right. Also, this tax never would have been floated while Abe Pollin was alive. It's possible that Ted Leonsis didn't even know how much air support he got, just because he used Abe Pollin's building.

Posted by: hungrypug | May 11, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

So, this tax will hit the Capitals, the Wizards, DC United, and some college teams. Three of those teams (including Georgetown's basketball team) play at the Verizon Center, which transformed a neighborhood into a major entertainment district that generates large food tax revenue every time a game is played there. (The neighborhood is now a night-out destination even when no team is playing.)

The tax could end up costing DC more than it brings in.

Posted by: Rhio | May 11, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Heading out the door for a run...let's see how Lot 8 is looking.

Posted by: DCB23 | May 11, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Move 'em to Loudoun County! Please! I'd scoop up season tix ASAP.

Posted by: SadieV | May 11, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

The tax could end up costing DC more than it brings in.

Posted by: Rhio | May 11, 2010 5:08 PM

I don't really approve of the tax either, but if insane Ticketmaster surcharges haven't stopped people paying to see sporting events, I'm not sure an extra dollar (or fifty cents) will matter.

Owners/schools won't like it because it will hurt them in the bigger picture unless they adjust prices a bit - which they only like doing when they get the profits.

Posted by: Kev29 | May 11, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

what a complete joke. DC United: Get out of DC and say good riddance to a completely screwed up city council! (though please stay in the DC metro area.)

Posted by: nairbsod | May 11, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

If Fenty had said yes to MacFarlane, DCU would have a new stadium by now...

Posted by: Juan-John1 | May 11, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

More taxes? Let's start a Soccer Tea Party.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 11, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Kev29:

Get a clue. The 10% tax on the Nats is to help pay for some of the $700M the District wasted on their stadium. That has nothing to do with this proposed tax to fund recreation. The Nats may be exempt due to the contract, but that doesn't mean they should be. The two taxes have nothing to do with each other.

No matter how you slice it, the Nats have been a major bust for the city. DC will never recover what it lost building the stadium, and the ill will it created killed any chance of funding for a soccer stadium. So, be prepared for some negative comments when you defend DC and the Nats on this board.

Posted by: DCU4LIFE | May 11, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

So, be prepared for some negative comments when you defend DC and the Nats on this board.

Posted by: DCU4LIFE | May 11, 2010 5:40 PM

People on this board know that I am a soccer fan as well as a Nats fan. The Nationals worked out a tax arrangement with the city - both sides signed off on it and it is being honored. Don't be mad at MLB and the Nationals for doing a good bit of business with the city - be mad at the city if you feel that they made a poor decision.

The Nationals deal actually improved the bond rating for the city and it has not been a major financial strain in the broad view of city finances.

Posted by: Kev29 | May 11, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm so disgusted with all of this. I went on the record earlier saying that Baltimore United would never happen. Let me go on the record again saying that I think it is inevitable. Which means my season tix are going bye-bye. I won't spend more in travel time round trip (with no traffic) than it takes to play a match.

Posted by: torrey151 | May 11, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Hey I just had a great idea. The District of Columbia is so well-run and wisely led, let's make it a STATE. That way, the kind of people who serve on its Council can help us run the whole COUNTRY.

Posted by: benonthehill | May 11, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

be mad at the city if you feel that they made a poor decision.

The Nationals deal actually improved the bond rating for the city and it has not been a major financial strain in the broad view of city finances.

Posted by: Kev29 | May 11, 2010 5:48 PM


`


Economic issues in DC won't change b/c the way they vote doesn't change.

DC residents notoriously vote one way and you can bet that it's no coincidence the city maintains such a wide gap between the rich and the poor.

Posted by: Vicc | May 11, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

in a sick sort of way, I hope DCU does move out of the city. That way, I'll have zero reason to go there anymore. I'll spend my money elsewhere.

Posted by: torrey151 | May 11, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

If there is such a tax, I'd like to see the DC United portion of it go here, these are good folks from what I've seen:

http://www.stoddert.com/CityFC/316434.html

And there's nothing stopping anyone who wants to write a check of their own free will from doing so, without waiting for the tax man . . . er, person.

Posted by: OWNTF | May 11, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Washington DC leadership sucks to high hell...Liberals, socialists and commies trying to tax every last dime out of us!

Posted by: alan19
------------------------------

"Liberals, socialists and commies"? Seriously?

There's no need to toss out such vitriolic political hate...but since you did...bite me, wingnut.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | May 11, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

@Delantero and anyone else. As an unofficial ambassador and native son of Charm City, I invite any of y'all that wanna come North to do so. If we can actually manage to pull it off (keep in mind that the mayor who was giving lip service to that had to resign in disgrace and no longer holds the office)--

We welcome yous all with open arms.

Posted by: yankiboy | May 11, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

The United will be contributing a pittance compared to the Wizards and the Caps, they bring in a fraction of the revenue to the city, and upkeep of RFK is an annual sunk cost for the city, but who is doing all the crying?

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 11, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Mr Natty Boh as shirt sponsor . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | May 11, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

At least DCU doesn't have spelling errors on their uniforms.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | May 11, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

"@Delantero and anyone else. As an unofficial ambassador and native son of Charm City, I invite any of y'all that wanna come North to do so. Posted by: yankiboy"

I know Baltimore pretty well and lived near Patterson Park for two months. I even got to see three heroin addicts shoot up in broad daylight . . right there in the middle of the park. Not much charming about it, really . . . the three of them sort of slid off the bench onto the ground.

Posted by: delantero | May 11, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

@Delantero: Why do you think I gave you the special invite?

That is what ambassadors do. They reach out. We have a lot of charm. I spent a lot of time in Patterson Park myself (none of it shooting up, most of it playing futbol).

If you wanna come back, you got your invite. If not, hey--it's your call.

Posted by: yankiboy | May 11, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

@Ron16: Please don't call me out for my "silence" and accuse me of inconsistency when I have posted to this thread.

Sports meets political issue. Taxes--The "t word". I didn't make any respecftful appeals to give "the politcs a rest".

@I270: Funny as usual.

Posted by: yankiboy | May 11, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Typical DC. This is why I will never live in the District.

Posted by: FAkeemail9875 | May 11, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

"Liberals, socialists and commies"? Seriously?

There's no need to toss out such vitriolic political hate...but since you did...bite me, wingnut.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | May 11, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

----------------

If not Socialism than what exactly is this? It is surely a tax on those that have the means to provide for their entertainment in order to provide a social service that, at the moment, isn't affordable. Here's a novel idea for all the idiots in local and national government...In order to save money, try NOT SPENDING IT on crap that we can't afford!!! Just look at Greece and what happens when the public becomes addicted to government programs and when financial crisis forces the removal of those programs. The lack of common sense in these so-called "leaders" disgusts me.

Apologies...I try to refrain from anything-but-soccer topics but this can't be avoided on this topic.

Posted by: FAkeemail9875 | May 11, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

This thread got off to a bad start with the first post...

Posted by: Reignking | May 11, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

So, this tax will hit the Capitals, the Wizards, DC United, and some college teams. Three of those teams (including Georgetown's basketball team) play at the Verizon Center, which transformed a neighborhood into a major entertainment district that generates large food tax revenue every time a game is played there. (The neighborhood is now a night-out destination even when no team is playing.)

The tax could end up costing DC more than it brings in.

Posted by: Rhio | May 11, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Rhio, you missed an important point in that DC didn't pay for the Verizon Center it was paid by Washington Sports & Entertainment. What right DC has to levy taxes on tickets at a venue they didn’t build and where they already charge them via a 30 year lease seems almost criminal.

If I were Washington Sports & Entertainment I would be beyond ballistic right about now with the DC council. While they paid for a stadium (that started the revitalization of an entire neighborhood) their fans (who helped bring the money that revitalized the neighborhood) could now pay new taxes while a publically funded baseball park will be exempt. My guess is Marc Fisherer will find some way to spin it so the Washington Post is fully supportive of the tax as long as it doesn’t harm his beloved Nats.

I really don’t think KP has much say and I would be surprised if he knows anyone on the DC council or in the DC gov’t.

Look at the shape of RFK. DC United actually pays the city to play there! Now the fans will get taxed to watch it continue to fall apart.

Posted by: Southeasterner | May 11, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

FAkeemail9875:

Since you asked, here is some information on what socialism actually is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

High taxes are not a form of socialism. They are just high taxes. Obviously our country's origins are based in part on anger about taxes, and that anger has stuck with the American people for hundreds of years. Even an American that is solidly to the left politically would find the tax rates of most European countries to be infuriating and ludicrous (despite the fact that those countries are very clearly capitalist).

alan19's decision to use what every American sees as a loaded word was needless and has dragged discussion off topic. Whether I agree with you or not on your outrage about this tax is irrelevant; your position is one that follows a logical progression. Declaring the entire city council socialists and communists does not.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | May 11, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

What Chest said! Read it, memorize it and live it.

Posted by: lrg123123 | May 11, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if I understand the correlation of taxation and communism. Vietnam and China have comparable individual tax rates to the US and most capitalist countries (well lower than Europe). What’s going to blow your mind is that the corporate tax rates our company office in China pays is 10% lower than the US and 7% lower than our office in the UK.

So maybe lower taxes = communism?

Not sure what any of this has to do with Soccer...

Posted by: Southeasterner | May 11, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Typical DC. This is why I will never live in the District.

Posted by: FAkeemail9875
---------------------------

I assure you that your presence is not missed in the District. We "socialists" are doing just fine. Enjoy your tea.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | May 11, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Umm...has anybody looked around the stands at DC United games lately? They won't raise much money from United's ticket sales...

Posted by: fischy | May 11, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Maybe DCU should take a page out of the O's playbook and charge an additional fee for day-of, walk-up tickets........

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | May 12, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Good idea, please use the money on the next generation DC players! Local clubs will be glad to improve their skills with goals like in this video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHNyKNoU3GU

Posted by: Guribs | May 12, 2010 5:32 AM | Report abuse

There's no need to toss out such vitriolic political hate...but since you did...bite me, wingnut.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | May 11, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

The United will be contributing a pittance compared to the Wizards and the Caps, they bring in a fraction of the revenue to the city, and upkeep of RFK is an annual sunk cost for the city, but who is doing all the crying?

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 11, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

======================================

Even the most loyal DC resident would have a hard time defending the city's treatment of DCU the last four years. Yet both of you continually come on this blog and inexplicably defend the indefensible. Are you guys employees in Fenty's office? While I do not agree with the political jabs made at DC, I do have two words for both of you nonetheless................BITE ME!

Posted by: croftonpost | May 12, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

This thread got off to a bad start with the first post...

Posted by: Reignking | May 11, 2010 8:42 PM

Excuse me, for a guy saying that he's in touch with all options inside and outside the district for stadium development, it was highly surprising to me to read a statement indicating that he doesn't have any sources on the council regarding the city's sports-related legislative agenda. Perhaps he doesn't know how things work, especially in DC.

What would you have started this thread off with?

Posted by: sec133row5 | May 12, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

If they wanted to generate more revenue why did they not tax the 81 home games of the Nationals? Calling the DC Government corrupt is an understatement.

Posted by: no_recess | May 12, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

@no_recess -- Are you deliberately dense? The Nats are already paying a 10% tax -- on all tickets, for all 81+ home games. That's considerably higher than what's being proposed to apply to other sporting events.

Posted by: fischy | May 12, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

If not Socialism than what exactly is this? It is surely a tax on those that have the means to provide for their entertainment in order to provide a social service that, at the moment, isn't affordable. Here's a novel idea for all the idiots in local and national government...In order to save money, try NOT SPENDING IT on crap that we can't afford!!! Just look at Greece and what happens when the public becomes addicted to government programs and when financial crisis forces the removal of those programs. The lack of common sense in these so-called "leaders" disgusts me.

Apologies...I try to refrain from anything-but-soccer topics but this can't be avoided on this topic.

Posted by: FAkeemail9875 | May 11, 2010 8:31 PM

--------------------------------------------------------

It's a tax proposal -- like many other taxes government collects. It is meant to pay for a service, like many other services government provides.

There are some idiots in government. There are even more outside of government, and there are plenty of folks in politics who count on the ignorance and reactionary elements in the public to applaud and support nonsensical ideas that do not work to the benefit of the greater good.

Sports teams benefit immensely from public services -- they strain the Metro, requiring added trains, and they strain public safety employees, requiring deployment of additional police and ambulance crews. Ever been to a Yankee game? You'll never see so many police in a square mile in your life. The idea that these teams do not get public support is just being ignorance. Even DC United -- they pay rent that surely doesn't cover the expense of maintenance and the stadium staff. The stadium is a shambles? No one is forcing DCU to play there...

You can say that the teams do giveback and are already supporting local rec programs -- as KP notes. Or, you can be a jerk and insist on having your streets paved and plowed so you can drive your car wherever and whenever you like and have the police to maintain your safety and security when you go to big events (and live in your safe/secure neighborhood) and pretend you're being robbed when someone proposes a small tax to support playing fields for kids whose parents cannot afford either cars, tickets to big events and safe neighborhoods. If you take KP's approach, you're at least making a coherent point. Otherwise, you're just saying "I got mine, Jack", without even understanding what you're getting in return for your taxes.

Posted by: fischy | May 12, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Kevin you, your "charitable arm", and the rest of DC United have been played for chumps for 14 years by the city. Wise up

Posted by: NICKYNUNYA | May 13, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

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