Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Some Recent Signals From Texas Are All Smoke

I haven’t heard much from Texas Governor Rick Perry since his Fed Up! book tour touting states as incubators for great ideas and that his state hadn’t been hit by the recession and now come some oversized reports of Super Bowl impact.

Perry makes a good point, but the Federal Healthcare Reform Act he hates so much was patterned after one pioneered in Massachusetts by another Republican Governor.

So who said you couldn’t shoot yourself in the foot while making your point?  Be sure to buy the book online, by the way, so you don’t have to pay state sales tax.


I noticed in the New York Times last Sunday that the Texas state budget is short 13.4% for 2012 but as a percentage of its current budget it is short more than 30%.

Don’t brag to me when you’re relying on reserves funded from oil production, the cost of which is born by everyone in the nation who buys gas or uses petroleum.

His state ranked 35th on national standardized tests of 4th and 8th graders while Massachusetts and Vermont ranked first and second respectively.  Given the philosophy of his book, I assume the Texas governor is on the phone to those liberals up in Vermont and Massachusetts right now. 

The tests include math, but unfortunately for some in Texas, they don’t include geography.  Officials in Dallas didn’t sound very astute  on either count last week.

They crowed that the Super Bowl would pump $600 million into their economy and generate $10 million in tax revenue.  That may or may not be accurate, they didn’t reveal the methodology.  Regardless, what the news media didn’t report or maybe failed to realize is that those figures are “gross,” not “net,” and it isn’t valid or “value-added” unless reduced by the amount the mega-event displaces.

The game will actually occur in Arlington, Texas not Dallas but even so, research for years has shown that the huge event displaces as much impact as it generates, for a net impact of, well “negligible.”  The Game and attendees may generate taxable spending but it will displace as much as it generates.

The game will displace visitors who would have been in the area anyway, it will disrupt resident consumer habits etc.  Studies of “sales” related tax receipts on dates the year before, the year of and the year after hosting a Super Bowl show no increase.

The article lamented that the “outer suburbs” (I guess Dallas is an inner suburb to Arlington) wouldn’t feel the impact.  Lucky them!  Ironically though, if any of the visitors who would normally be traveling to that part of Texas still dare to go, they will probably be dislocated out into those very “outer” suburbs. 

President Eisenhower may have put his finger on the “military-industrial” complex in his gutsy speech delivered 50 years ago yesterday, but that complex is rivaled by today’s “mega-event-industrial” complex including many cities and counties, destination marketing organizations, facilities, consultants, sports-advertising reliant news media, and major sports organizations.

There may be good social and cultural reasons for communities to host big events like the Super Bowl but it isn’t to add value to their economies or to generate visitors or future visitors or billboard effect.  There is just too much established research now to the contrary.

Such delusions aren’t limited to Texas though.  If Tea Partiers want something to get their anger “fix,” they need look no further than the smoke screens put up around major sports events.

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