I am wondering about spending public money on private enterprise. In particular, for the city of Santa Fe, NM, USA. The enterprise is an indoor soccer franchise.

The city is being asked to cover the $250k to $500k renovations and rent back time to the soccer clubs. The ROI would be 40+ years (based on the numbers in the article).

For reasons not entirely evident, the mayor is pushing hard for this. There are lots of outdoor, full size soccer facilities in Santa Fe.

Can you describe legal ways in which this might be challenged?

  • I’m voting to close this question because it belongs on politics.stackexchange.com Feb 27 at 1:29
  • 2
    I see your point but by "ways" I means legal means, not political. Question edited to reflect that. Feb 27 at 1:41

1 Answer 1


The government is allowed to spend public money on private enterprise. For example, the Small Business Administration gives grants to qualified businesses. Stadium subsidies have been a feature of government operations for decades, running in the billions of dollars. Here is a list of various larger businesses that received government bailouts.

There is a procedure for approving such expenditures, such as the legislature of a state or city council. The mayor cannot usually unilaterally declare that the city will spend money on such a project, unless the city council has created a discretionary fund for the mayor, to support projects that the mayor deems will "benefit the city". Unless there is some flagrantly illegal about the funding, there is probably no legal means to challenge the decision in court, it is a purely political matter. In rare circumstances (like this) a law can be passed that limits making stadium construction a taxpayer duty.

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