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For Immediate Release
November 15, 2011
A Statement from Comptroller Susan Combs Re: Formula 1
It’s no secret that I’ve supported Texas hosting a Formula 1 race since 2008. I believe a well-organized event of this magnitude can be a tremendous benefit to Texas if done right. Investors, businesses and event organizers want to come to Texas because we’ve developed an economic climate that is attractive, our state is a great location for events, and we’ve got space and potential to grow.
A tool for recruiting large events to the state is the Major Events Trust Fund (METF), which was created by the Texas Legislature in 2003. In the past two years, eligible METF recipients have included the NFL Super Bowl XLV, the NBA All-Star Game and the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Four tournaments. The support provided by the METF comes from sales, hotel, beverage and other tax revenue generated by out-of-state visitors who attend the event.
When the United States Grand Prix was formally announced, it was the only Formula 1 race scheduled in the U.S. During the past 18 months, organizers have taken many steps to bring high-profile motor racing to Central Texas, including the development of the Circuit of the Americas, and the announcement of the global MotoGP and V8 Supercar race series starting in 2013.
The recent announcement of an annual Formula 1 race in New Jersey is a concern, as additional races have the potential to reduce the number of attendees to a Texas race, thereby decreasing the economic impact. Additionally, the reports of a slowdown in construction at the Circuit of the Americas, and recently publicized disagreements between the race rights-holder and the circuit developers have prompted speculation about whether the Austin race will even occur. The ongoing controversies are a concern and we will continue to monitor them.
Let me state clearly: We have not paid out any money for the Formula 1 event. The only dollars that can be spent on the United States Grand Prix are tax revenues attributable to the successful running of a race. The state of Texas will not be paying any funds in advance of the event. Further, as is the case with all METF events, each application will be reviewed and analyzed for its likely economic impact and only after the race occurs would any funds be disbursed.
If an METF application is submitted, it will be thoroughly vetted and economic impact data scrutinized based on the actual circumstances for that event. Ultimately, I am responsible for protecting the interests of Texas taxpayers, first and foremost. I will not allow taxpayer dollars to be placed at risk. My position on that has not changed.
About Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Susan Combs is committed to making state government work better for Texans.
Bringing a strong fiscal conservative philosophy to the Comptroller’s office, which serves as the state’s treasurer, check writer, tax collector and revenue estimator, Combs insists that taxpayer money be spent wisely and that both citizens and their elected officials have a true accounting of the state’s finances.
Since being elected Texas Comptroller in 2006 and re-elected in 2010, she has driven sweeping reforms in state purchasing and contracting. The Comptroller also is focused on ensuring the fair collection of taxes. In 2007, a law was passed that expanded the Comptroller’s enforcement capabilities for beer and tobacco sales tax, helping the agency identify more than $260 million due to the state.
Through comprehensive reports on issues such as energy, water, health care and public education, Combs’ office provides insight into long-term solutions for the continued economic vitality of Texas. She is deeply concerned about the impact of federal mandates and policy proposals on the state’s future, and has provided in-depth analyses of potential costs and their impact.
Committed to further securing the private data for citizens and businesses, Combs joined the board of the University of Texas Center for Identity in the summer of 2011. The Center for Identity assembles public- and private-sector leaders with an interest in anticipating and combating identity threats.
Before beginning her tenure as Comptroller, Combs was the first woman elected as Texas Agriculture Commissioner. A fourth generation Texan, she was elected to two terms, during which she boosted rural economic development efforts and aggressively promoted made-in-Texas products throughout the nation and the world. She continues to serve as a knowledgeable and passionate voice for the state’s farmers and ranchers.
Prior to serving as Agriculture Commissioner, Combs served in the Texas Legislature where she introduced and passed government accountability reform and protected Texas landowners by authoring the state’s landmark private property rights legislation.
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