Greg Abbott, the candidate for Texas governor in 2014, spoke differently about subsidizing sports and entertainment events than when he became the actual governor.
Back when he was running for the office — and on his way to trouncing Democratic opponent Wendy Davis — Abbott frowned on the state pouring public money into private ventures.
Hey, but what happened? He’s governor now and he’s just committed $2.7 million in public money to help support a World Wrestling Entertainment event next spring at AT&T Stadium in Arlington … aka Jerry World.
WWE, for those who’ve been living under a rock since the beginning of time, produces fake wrestling events. However, it’s huge, man!
Gov. Abbott signed off on a plan to bolster the Events Trust Fund, which the state set up to help defray the cost of these extravaganzas.
If you want to know the truth, I kind of like Candidate Abbott’s view better than Gov. Abbott’s idea.
According to the Texas Tribune: “The Events Trust Fund is designed to defray the costs of some large events by paying state taxes collected during the events, such as those levied on hotel reservations and car rentals, back to event organizers. Local governments or nonprofits they authorize must approve the events, and the cities that host them are required to chip in some of their local tax receipts, too. State officials only calculate the size of the payment from the fund after an event is held and the economic activity has been documented, according to the governor’s office. ”
OK, I get that WWE’s big shows produce a lot of economic activity to any community that hosts them.
Then again, this also seem to smack a bit of what some have called “sports socialism.” Public money gets kicked in to support a private enterprise event. Granted, the $2.7 million that Abbott authorized is veritable chump change when compared to the entire state budget, if not the entire amount of money set aside in the Events Trust Fund.
These events ought to be able to stand on their own. It’s not as if the venue that’s going to play host to WrestleMania is a dump. It’s a state-art-of-the-art stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play professional football under the ownership and management of Jerry Jones, who — last I heard — wasn’t worried about where he’d get his next meal.
What’s more, the money going to this event is public money. Meaning, it’s my money, and yours.
With the price of oil plummeting and the state perhaps looking for ways to recover from the revenue shortfall that’s coming, let’s hope we don’t come up short because we’ve contributed money to help pay for a fake wrestling show.