Should taxpayers finance the New Mexico Bowl (as was played today)? I am not a big fan, but in this particular case the numbers are so small as to make them at once irrelevant and clearer. The Albuquerque Journal had an interesting article on the finances of the Bowl game a few days ago and it was noted that the state had dialed back its contribution to $50,000.
One point missed in the article, however, was that the taxpayer dollars used to fund the game don’t stop with the state. Taxes on hotels are used to fund the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau which amounted to another $198,000 for the game. That’s a total of $248,000 from taxpayers. With this year’s game having attracted 24,610 fans, taxpayers are putting about $10 into the till for each attendee. How many people traveled from out of state for the game and spent a night or more in a hotel, ate meals and restaurants, and otherwise paid at enough taxes to break-even? How many people who watched the game on TV will decide to travel here to visit? It’s hard to say.
What is easy to say is that once-a-year football games are not enough to generate jobs and economic prosperity for New Mexico. So, enjoy the game, but by all means, let’s get to work on making New Mexico a more free mark-oriented and prosperous state.