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Summary: The Major Events Trust Fund (METF) takes sales tax generated from events and uses the money to pay for costs, (such as extra police, ambulance, and fire department presence) associated with holding certain events in Texas. Under current law, the NCAA Bowl Championship Series is one of the events that the Fund supports. HB 1019 anticipates that the Bowl Series will change to a playoff structure; and, therefore changes the current law to allow a Bowl postseason playoff game or championship game to take part in the Fund.
Analysis: HB 1019 amounts to an administrative update that maintains the status quo by ensuring the METF keeps certain NCAA football games on the list of approved events regardless of whether NCAA changes the name or format of the event. This legislation does not address concerns that the METF may inhibit free market interactions by giving preferred tax treatment to certain events while excluding others. The state should not allow NCAA BCS Championship Series games to be dropped from the list of METF events due simply to a format or name change, which is what this legislation would prevent. We encourage legislators to pass this HB 1019 as a short term measure and hope the legislature will also look at a long term market-based solution to paying for municipal services at both large and small events without effectively subsidizing certain preferred events. We encourage passage of HB 1019.
Update: Upon further consideration of this bill, we are changing our rating from positive to neutral on the principle of limited government. While using the METF to subsidize major events is not a limited use of government, this legislation does not address the merit of the METF. Our recommendations are based on the merits the bill before the legislature, not other issues that rightly should be addressed. Though dropping an event from the METF on such an arbitrary basis as a name change is not in agreement with the intent of this statute, the measure itself neither promotes nor offends the principle of limited government.