Immediately after voters approved abandoning the coliseum Randy Jordan came and talked with me about the idea of a public/private dirt facility by raising the hotel occupancy tax.
This is a new plan and has no connection to the council or the proposed project near the airport.
I told Randy then I can support such an effort if the risk and reward for the operation of the arena is controlled by the private sector. We've learned from experience government has no incentive for success in the entertainment business.
The hotel occupancy tax is a visitor's tax. It's a tax on hotel rooms...in this case an increase from thirteen to fifteen percent.
Now a tax increase is a tax increase, but if we're going to fund a lifestyle choice, let it be one that engages our young people in constructive activities like 4H and FFA. And if we're going to support it with tax dollars, let it be with taxes paid by visitors who stay in our hotels.
Consider this...I support a public/private partnership that limits taxpayer liability and makes the private sector responsible for operations and maintenance.
With those two critical caveats, I can support paying for a dirt arena with a visitor's tax.
The coliseum is gone, and regardless of what any of us may think about the way business has been done in the past, we need a facility for dirt events, and this is the best proposal I've seen.
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'Consider This' is a commentary by KCBD Vice-President and General Manager Dan Jackson.