SBD/Issue 181/Events & Attractions

Texas Taxpayers To Pay $25M Sanctioning Fee For Austin F1 Race

Texas State Officials Claim $25M Fee For
An Austin F1 Race Is Long-Term Investment

Texas taxpayers are "putting up the first $25 million in a deal aimed at luring Formula One racing to Austin," according to Eric Dexheimer of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. The money, to be deposited in the state's Major Event Trust Fund, "would pay the sanctioning fee London-based Formula One Group charges for the privilege of hosting the first of 10 annual F1 races planned for Austin beginning in 2012." The move is "contrary to earlier assertions," as state officials last week said that money from the fund "would not go to the promoter but to local governments to reimburse them for costs incurred in hosting such large sporting events." Texas Comptroller's Office Dir of Local Government Assistance & Economic Development Robert Wood said that the fund "had not been used in this way before and that officials are still figuring out the details." Dexheimer noted state officials stressed that the $25M "is an investment that will be more than returned to taxpayers in the millions of dollars that would flow back to Texas when several hundred thousand race fans flock to Austin for three days to watch the event." The state "could end up paying more than $25 million ... depending on how much extra tax money is collected." But Texas Comptroller Susan Combs stressed that "no money would be used to pay for construction of the track, which has been estimated at" $250M (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 6/2).

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