Richard Viktorin of Audits in the Public Interest, is a CPA with credentials in the area of economic development. Viktorin testified before the Texas Senate Finance Committee late yesterday, providing data and back up to the contention that the State Comptroller’s support for granting one-quarter of a billion taxpayer dollars for the Formula 1 racetrack in Austin is a “a liar’s loan in the form of an economic development incentive merely by inflating attendance and spending.” Viktorin further testified that, “The total expenditure per person in all categories is a pie in the sky $585.00 per day, $3000 per visitor total…this does not include air travel. The higher and higher Formula One puffs the numbers, the higher the award grows. It is a direct algebraic relationship.”
Texas Senate Finance Committee Vice-Chair, Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa of McAllen responded to Viktorin stating, “I don’t like Formula One either.” Finance Committee Chair, Steve Ogden of Bryan, after gaveling out said, “We are going to look at it.”
According to information published by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, the Formula One incentive offered from the Texas Major Events Trust Fund is estimated to be $290,000,000 over ten years.
Viktorin’s organization was retained by local Austin businessman, taxpayer watchdog, and co-founder of ChangeAustin.org, Brian Rodgers. Rodgers said, “Spending $290 million of taxpayer funds for a privately owned racetrack while closing our schools is madness. It is deeply disturbing to watch our government officials pass up innovative solutions for long term unemployment in favor of a 3-day gig selling hot-dogs at a racetrack at obscene costs.”
Viktorin’s full 5-minute testimony can be watched here.