Kentucky Wants to Help Bruton Smith’s Bottom Line

Oh, for the love of Pete, could somebody please explain to me how and why it is government continues to bend over and willingly spread ’em in an effort to help already rich guys get even richer? At taxpayers’ expense?

The latest example is brought to you courtesy of Kentucky, which is considering generous tax breaks for Bruton Smith and his company, Speedway Motorsports Inc. (SMI). Smith, a billionaire as recently as 2007, wants Kentucky to offset the $70 million he figures to spend in his efforts to bring a NASCAR race to his Kentucky Speedway.

While there is as yet no guarantee that Smith can even land a Cup race, according to an Associated Press report, the state is "working on an amendment to the Kentucky Tourism Development Act that would allow SMI to recoup 25 percent of the expansion costs over a 20-year period through sales tax revenue."

Translation: Charge you and give back to Bruton.

Now, all power to Bruton Smith, who is merely working within the friendly confines of an absolutely screwed up system, but how many books does Andrew Zimbalist need to write in which he lays out, chapter and verse, how cost-ineffective public support of sports venues is? How many episodes of Nightline or Outside the Lines must the guy appear on?

For the last time: The only ones proven to benefit from tax breaks like this are the owners (ask George W. Bush how that works). And if Zimbalist isn’t good enough for you, maybe read a few chapters of Pulitzer Prize-winner David Cay Johnston ‘s recent book, Perfectly Legal.

The generous breaks provided to rich guys like Bruton Smith (or connected ones like George W. Bush) do not generate huge revenues for the local economy, they do not create thousands of good jobs and they don’t turn water into wine. They make guys like Bruton Smith and George Bush richer.