Lawmakers Debate Spending Millions Of State Tax Dollars To Fund 2015 Super Bowl

By Dennis Lambert
Published: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 9:54am
Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 10:15am
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State lawmakers are ready to debate whether taxpayers across Arizona should help Glendale pay the costs of hosting next year’s Super Bowl. According to an audit, the Super Bowl that Glendale hosted in 2008 actually cost the city money.

Now, Mayor Jerry Weiers wants the state to make up to $4 million available to cover things like security costs for the 2015 game. That’s not going over too well with some of Weiers former colleagues at the Legislature, like Rep. John Kavanagh.

“Cities and towns desperately compete to get these, these high-attendance venues for all the tax dollars and all the economic development it brings in, and then they turn around and say we can't afford it?” Kavanagh said. “That's absurd.”

Weiers says the Super Bowl bid predates his election as mayor, but that it is not just a Glendale event. Some lawmakers, like House Majority Leader David Gowan of Sierra Vista, agree.

“We have Tombstone down where we live,” Gowan said. “You have the Grand Canyon up north. You have all these great resources, painted canyons. You've got Saguaro National Forest. You've got all these great places that people are going to go visit. And they are.”

Gowan says those revenues will increase during the time frame of the game. The measure before lawmakers is not limited to the Super Bowl. Any community in the state could get state funding for a special event, but annual events like the Fiesta Bowl and the Phoenix Open would not be eligible for additional state funds.

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