Senate Bill 09-173 which was passed and signed by the governor this year is a measure that will mostly just give benefit to corporations, and bring little money to the average Colorado citizen possibly affected by the measure. The purpose of the bill is to help an enterprise zone located in Aurora Colorado by trying to bring a stock car racing track that could possibly get a NASCAR Sprint Cup race to the area. This would most likely fail.
The bill will be another useless government expense that will only support high corporate heads and few others. It would give a $50 million tax break to a project that would use the enterprise zone for economic development. The project would most likely fund a NASCAR track done by Bill Schuck or Pat Hamil. Thus the money would go to corporate hands first. Hands that have helped out Bill Ritter before. This was done when Colorado Concern, which has Schuck, Schuck's father, and Hamil as members, paid off about $250,000 of campaign debt. Subsidies going to private venues is a violation of the Colorado Constitution in Article IX, but the legislature and executive were able to loophole out of this, which is obviously not the best for Colorado.
Since the bill was in-fact passed and signed, many argue that it is a good thing. If the track is successful, many people will have jobs in maintaining the track and building it. In addition many Colorado businesses would enjoy a nice week of the year when the track would potentially bring in thousands of tourists to stimulate Colorado's economy in the Denver area. All this would even happen in an area that is relatively poor compared to the rest of the state. However, this will likely fail.
Studies by the Bell Policy Center show that economic zones are mostly ineffective in economic stimulus. Most jobs are low paying and of inferior quality. In addition only around ten percent of new jobs in these areas can be said to have come about from the tax incentives. Uselessness can also be seen by how incomes in areas that are not enterprise zones continue to increase at a quicker rate than the zones.
A more important reason of why this would fail is that NASCAR is not a very popular sport in Colorado. In addition the new track would be a mile long oval, just like Pikes Peak International Raceway based near Colorado Springs, which failed. A mile oval does not bring the same excitement or numbers of a super-speedway, which cars reach speeds near 200 miles per hour, while a mile oval has speeds that barely go over 100 miles per hours.
Bills like this should not pass in the future. Colorado citizens such as myself must stay more in tune with what the state government passes in the future, even though this is difficult with the little media attention given to the state legislature. Next time these bills must meet more resistance than the nineteen members of the sixty-five member house and the three members of the thirty-five member senate.
Senate Bill 09-173 is a fine example of money that comes from the Colorado taxpayer that will most likely be poorly spent. It will provide the possibility for a simple boost to be given to corporations in building a NASCAR track, which will likely fail and help few people. These Bills must meet more opposition in the legislature and the executive which can stem from citizens, such as myself, being more aware of what the legislature proposes to do with state taxes.