Citizens for More Important Things

Setting priorities for public spending, and leading the fight against tax subsidies for professional sports.
The stadium battles aren't just about stadiums, and they're not just about money.


Formed in 1995 when professional baseball wanted a sales tax increase to subsidize the Seattle Mariners, and continuing through the statewide football campaign of 1997 for tax subsidies that resulted in the construction of Qwest Field, Citizens for More Important Things has been a voice of reason in the debate over spending tax money for professional sports subsidies in Washington State. 

With professional basketball now pitting sports tax boosters against the people's pocketbooks, we're back, leading another fight for fiscal sanity in sports stadium funding. 

For conservatives, not being able to say no to the extravagance of professional sports means government will never say no to anybody for anything.  Moderates wonder at the seeming gullibility of elected officials when doused with the snake oil of sports as a tool for economic development.  And liberals are angry at a government that chronically under-funds education and social services but has a blank checkbook for boys with big toys. 

Citizens for More Important Things has a single agenda--spend public money on the important things, and leave sports entertainment to the private sector.  We cross partisan boundaries, and bring together normally opposing voices.  We simply question the reasonableness of any government that would subsidize private entities whose average player salaries are in the millions of dollars per year.  Teachers should be so lucky.

The supporters of publicly subsidized sports franchises argue that pro-sports bring people together as communities, to see and enjoy the art of sport.  No doubt.  But there are many things in public life that would be great for any city.  We have limited resources.  At some point, we have to weigh the cost, and set priorities, in light of the fairness of the subsidy to these very well funded private enterprises.  

Stadiums and professional sports are powerful symbols.  Voters, the public, sports fans, the media all pay close attention to these debates.  Because the outcome not only changes skylines when sports promoters win, the shadow of the debates falls across public hearings and discussions of public spending for schools, highways, and public services, for many years after stadium construction is finished.  And the unanswered question is nagging and simple:  If they can pay for that stuff, why can't they afford what we need?

These are difficult battles.  Most, in America, are won by the sports moguls and their political cheerleaders.  At least in Washington State, because of the efforts of thousands of Citizens For More Important Things contributors and volunteers, they have not been able to run completely roughshod over sane public policy and the taxpayer's pocketbooks. 

We are thankful to all who have helped, and who are helping.  Call, email, write.  Send money.  We need your assistance.  Without it, consider your tax dollars will likely be stuffed somewhere, through someone else's golden hoop, and most likely, that professional basketball player will already have earned millions, long before he got to yours.



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Citizens for More Important Things
PO Box 4473
Seattle, Washington 98104


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To contact us:

Phone: 206-854-6127

PO Box 4473

Seattle, WA 98194