The New England Patriots kneel during the national anthem before a game. Photo: Michael Dwyer / AP

President Trump again today tweeted against the NFL, with a particular emphasis on taxes: "Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!"

Bottom line: The NFL doesn't receive any federal tax breaks, having given up its tax-exempt status in 2015. But the NFL does benefit from the existence of tax-exempt bonds that some state and municipal governments use to finance new stadiums, and President Trump could suggest a change via the tax plan that is currently being devised.

Bond backgrounder: A majority of new professional sports stadiums today are financed via tax-exempt bonds that actually are issued by state and local governments, rather than by the teams themselves. It's basically taking advantage of a loophole in the 1986 tax law that was supposed to close a prior loophole surrounding tax-exempt bonds for stadium financings. So long as the issuing government doesn't repay the bond via direct or indirect stadium revenue, although many governments get around this via "tourist taxes" on things like hotel rooms and restaurants.

How much? A Brookings report from last year found that around $13 billion worth of tax-exempt bonds have been used since 2000 to finance stadiums for America's four major pro sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA), representing between $3 billion and $3.7 billion in lost federal tax revenue. Of the four leagues, Major League Baseball had the highest average amount of stadiums financed by tax-exempt bonds.

What to do: President Obama proposed a ban on tax-exempt bonds for pro sports stadiums in his 2016 budget, but it didn't go anywhere. Given that Trump is currently asking for the largest tax system overhaul since 1986, he could perhaps insist that something similar be included, although it's highly unlikely that Congress would tie tax-exempt status to a specific league or whether or not that league's players stand for the National Anthem.

Go deeper

Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.

Trump dons face mask during Walter Reed visit

Trump wearing a face mask in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 11. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump wore a face mask during his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to AP.

Why it matters: This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 12,607,510 — Total deaths: 562,338 — Total recoveries — 6,948,863Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 3,228,884 — Total deaths: 134,600 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,919,421Map.
  3. Public health: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: "Please wear a mask to save lives" Fauci hasn't briefed Trump on the coronavirus pandemic in at least two months — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  4. Food: How the coronavirus pandemic boosted alternative meat.
  5. Sports: Charge of "money grab" by college football.
  6. World: India reimposes lockdowns as coronavirus cases soar.