Super subsidies

The state has now announced that taxpayers will be pitching in $31.2 million dollars to support the 2011 Super Bowl. The state reasons that local governments need help with expenses associated with such events and people attending the event will be paying taxes on hotels, souvenirs, and alcohol. The study the state is using estimates the game will generate a total of $612 million in economic activity. If that holds up, the state is putting up the equivalent of almost 20% of what people will spend at the Super Bowl. Are state taxes that high?

The projection that the Super Bowl will attract 584,000 Texans (not including those from the DFW area) and 147,00 people from out-of-state seems pretty optimistic. That’s about 3% of Texans. I know that Jerry Jones tries to sell a lot of “standing room” tickets, but …

Even if the event will produce $31 million in additional state tax revenue, Texans don’t have to get stuck with the tab. The NFL has plenty of money and professional football looks less like a public good every year. The launch of the NFL network, limits on highlights shown on other networks, suing people who sell “Who Dat” t-shirts, and other practices have helped the NFL squeeze extra dollars out of fans in a way that does not reflect the public interest. Jerry Jones and the NFL have been ruthlessly capitalistic in taking fans’ money whenever they hold the power. I don’t know why were not playing by the usual rules of free enterprise for the Super Bowl. Texans might ask why we are putting on a big party for Jerry Jones in the stadium that taxpayers subsidized?

This is only $1.25 per Texan. However, this kind of subsidy looks bad when state agencies are being asked to give back 5% of their budget. I’ve been a Cowboys fans since the days of  Don Meredith, but there comes a point when Texans need to ask how much money we should be pouring into the extravagant side high school, college, and professional sports at a time when so many students are seeing their basic education suffer. Evidently, they’re a lower priority than the people expected on the 600 private jet trips to North Texas expected for the event.

Maybe Rick Perry can take a break from railing against “socialism” coming out of Washington and stop the welfare party for Jerry Jones in his backyard.

————

Update:  Maybe we could pay off the remaining debt on the $60 millions Houston forked out to keep the Oilers in Houston before putting more money into pleasing another pro franchise.  According to the Houston Chronicle (“A Costly Wonder“) Houston still faces a debt and interest payments that will total up to $48 million for fixing up the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

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