Representative Gaetz now heading bill to end NFL's tax exemption status

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJHG/WECP) - Congressman Matt Gaetz is using his role as a congressman to join the debate on the "take a knee" demonstrations going on during NFL games.

Tuesday morning, President Trump reiterated his disdain for the NFL, saying they need to set a rule that bans kneeling during the National Anthem.

Gaetz spoke about it on the House Floor Tuesday morning, calling to officially end the tax-exempt status of the NFL's league office.

"The public pays 70 percent of the cost of NFL stadiums," Representative Gaetz said. "Tax-exempt sports leagues generate nearly $2 billion in revenue and yet the tax code gives them a special break that small businesses in my district don't get. That's unfair."

Gaetz did acknowledge that the NFL voluntarily gave up their tax-exempt status, which happened in 2015. But he called for a permanent end of the tax-exempt status for professional sports leagues, which is what H.R. 296, also called the PRO (Properly Reducing Overexemptions) Sports Act, would do.

The legislation was originally introduced by Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who has since resigned from Congress. Gaetz has now signed on as the lead sponsor. The bill cites leagues like the NHL, PGA Tour and LPGA (all tax exempt) as examples of entities that would be affected.

Last year, Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that revoking the tax-exempt status of the NFL and other sports leagues would generate approximately $150 million in new revenue over ten years.

“Tax reform is currently the top priority of Congress,” Gaetz said. “We must close this loophole in the tax code, and end taxpayer subsidies for professional athletics. If players want to protest, they have that right — but they should do it on their own time, and on their own dime.”