State May Tax Sporting and Entertainment Events

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

Some would call watching a Nascar race from the center of the MIS track "priceless."

If only that were true. Tickets to the races cost between $15 and $110.

But tack on 6 percent more to those pricetags and you've got what the Governor says is one way to tackle next year's $1.8 billion deficit.

"Some people have talked about extending [the sales tax] to tickets and sporting events," says the Governor's spokeswoman Liz Boyd. "Certainly the Governor believes a 6 percent tax on such items is fair to fund education."

People are calling it the "ticket tax"-- essentially, the state's sales tax would extend to sports and entertainment events. Michigan International Speedway's president Roger Curtis understands the state's financial crisis, but says the tax would put the brakes on a booming racing economy.

"Sixty percent of our fans come from outside of Michigan," Curtis says. "They're already helping the economy by bringing money here. Now to ask them to pay an extra 6 percent to boost the economy even more-- that's a concern."

Curtis says many of the fans who visit MIS each summer save all year for their vacation, and he says to add even more to their expenses won't go over well. Fans we spoke to called the tax "a rotten idea." And Curtis worries the tax would have further implications.

"We're really proud to have two Nextel Cup races here. I don't want declining attendance [because of tax increases] to put us in the position that makes us on the bubble to lose those races to another state."

"Nobody likes taxes, nobody likes raising taxes," Boyd replies. "But we have a budget crisis. We need to resolve it, and we need to resolve it soon."

Lucky for the MIS fans, that discussion won't happen until after the race.


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