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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

House passes sweeping election and anti-corruption bill

Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

The House voted 220-210Wednesday to pass Democrats' expansive election and anti-corruption bill.

Why it matters: Expanding voting access has been a top priority for Democrats for years, but the House passage of the For the People Act (H.R. 1) comes as states across the country consider legislation to rollback voting access in the aftermath of former President Trump's loss.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 220 to 212 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans plan to exact pain before COVID relief vote

Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republicans are demanding a full, 600-page bill reading — and painful, multi-hour "vote-a-rama" — as Democrats forge ahead with their plan to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Why it matters: The procedural war is aimed at forcing Democrats to defend several parts the GOP considers unnecessary and partisan. While the process won't substantially impact the final version of the mammoth bill, it'll provide plenty of ammunition for future campaign messaging.