Despite pretending the "Texas experiment" of cutting millions in government spending to make up for billions in revenue shortfalls was working, the state is actually billions of dollars in debt. In the face of teacher layoffs, some are looking at cutting the $25 million promised to the US Grand Prix.
While private investors are putting up the funds to build the Circuit of the Americas track, $25 million each year will go out of the Texas piggybank to pay for thinks like security and porta-potties. That's $250 million over ten years in a cash-strapped state.
Super conservative radio host and State Senator Dan Patrick from Houston told Fox News "This is not something we should be doing. How can you justify spending $25 million? That is 500 teachers."
It's a rare issue that has conservative Republicans — who control both houses of the Texas legislature — allied with teacher groups. "Why can't they get private funding for this if the event is going to make so much money?" they wonder. It's an excellent question and, as a Texas taxpayer, I'm curious about it myself.
On the other hand, people who are worried about the event not actually attracting visitors and therefore not generating tax revenue are misguided. The actual amount may be a little overstated, but people from all over the country and all over the world will be there. They'll spend lots of money.
For now, neither the State's comptroller nor the Governor seem concerned about the money being pulled out of the event. And even if it was someone's going to be able to come up with the scratch.
(Hat tip to Sirbasilfawlty!)
(Photo: Harry Cabluck/AP)