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Irving's Demolition Tax Print E-mail
by Norm Hitzges    Thu, Jan 26, 2006, 04:11 PM

The City of Irving is proposing a vote to approve a $10 per ticket tax along with a $3 per vehicle tax for fans attending Dallas Cowboys games at Texas Stadium for the team’s final 3 seasons in Irving. They are also proposing a $5k per game participation tax for every NFL player that plays a game in the stadium. They project that these taxes will raise over $30 million over the next 3 years. According to city officials, that money will be dedicated to improving and developing the site of the stadium after the Cowboys leave.

Irving City officials are also quick to point out that they are not doing anything different than the City of Arlington is going to do once the Cowboys move to their new stadium. They will tell you that this is not a scam. That they are not “sticking it to the fans or to the players”. They will tell you that this is simply a way that many municipalities are generating revenue to fund their stadiums. They will point to “The Brimer Bill” and tell you that this bill gives them the authority and right to implement this tax.

Well, let me tell you that this is a load of garbage. The Brimer Bill, named for State Senator Kim Brimer, was crafted in 1997 to provide a way for cities to raise funds to pay for building tourist related venues such as arenas and stadiums. So, on the surface, it appears that the city does have a good case in trying to levy these taxes.

In a lot of ways the logic in this type of tax makes sense. The people that are utilizing the venue should bear a large portion of the expense that comes with that venue. It seems only fair that a Cowboys season ticket holder who is enjoying that stadium every week should pay more in taxes for the stadium than someone who will never set foot in the stadium. It is a form of user tax. The people that benefit from the venue also bear the burden of paying for the venue.

But, what will the City of Irving do with all the revenue these taxes are sure to generate? The City of Irving has apparently agreed to a non-compete clause with Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys. This means that once the Cowboys leave for Arlington, the City of Irving will not attempt to bring any events, sporting or otherwise, to Texas Stadium. It has been reported that they plan to tear down the stadium and turn the site into business and retail developments.

The City can spin it any way they want. They can try to tell us that they are just using the same types of taxes that Arlington will use when the Cowboys open their new stadium But, it appears that the City of Irving wants to use these taxes to help them tear down a venue, not build a venue. T

They are not only wrong, they are completely misleading the public and should be ashamed of it. There is a huge difference between how the City of Arlington is using the tax and how Irving wants to use it.

The City of Arlington is using the tax to fund a new stadium. They are using the tax in the spirit of the Brimer Bill. When a fan buys a ticket to a Cowboys game in Arlington he (she) will be paying the tax to help offset the costs of constructing a new stadium. They may not like the fact that they are paying the tax. But at least they will be paying a tax for a venue that they will be using for years to come. But, if the City of Irving gets its way, the same fan will be paying for the demolition of a venue and redevelopment of the site. Who knows what kind of redevelopment is in store for the site? It is entirely possible that the Cowboy fans that pay this tax will never have any desire or reason to utilize the redeveloped site.

This spits in the face of the spirit of the Brimer Bill. The fact that the City of Irving wants to twists words and attempt to tell us that they are only doing the same exact thing that the Arlington is going to do simply insults our intelligence.

In the City of Arlington this is a user tax. But, the same exact tax in Irving will be a demolition tax. That’s a huge difference.

Here’s an idea for the City of Irving: just tell us the truth. Tell us that it is going to cost a lot of money to redevelop Texas Stadium and you don’t want it to come out of your budget. But please don’t insult our intelligence by comparing the building of one venue to the demolition of another.
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