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Billionaire Bruton Smith wants taxpayer money
A bill that would offer tax incentives to Speedway Motorsports Inc. if it brings a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race to Kentucky Speedway could be introduced to state lawmakers next week.

Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith and former Kentucky Speedway chairman Jerry Carroll joined Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and other state leaders at a news conference today at the state Capitol announcing a proposed amendment to the Kentucky Tourism Development Act.

SMI bought Kentucky Speedway last year from Carroll and his founding partners for $78.3-million and Smith said today that he could spend as much in improvements to the facility, including the addition of 50,000 more seats, tripling the number of restrooms and adding more spots for motor homes.

He also declared, again, that there would be a Cup race next year at Kentucky Speedway.

The Tourism Development Act, a bill passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 1996, provides financial incentives for the development of projects like Kentucky Speedway, Newport Aquarium, Newport on the Levee and Hofbrauhaus Newport.

The incentive for developers is the ability to recoup up to 25 percent of the project’s cost over 10 years. The developer is refunded the 6 percent sales tax paid by visitors to their facilities on items such as tickets, concessions and merchandise.

A project must cost at least $1 million, attract 25 percent of its visitors from out of state, be open to the public at least 100 days a year and have a positive economic impact on the state.

The amendment would add a new category for “legacy expansion” projects. There are certain stipulations that must be met to qualify for the tax incentives, including an expansion project exceeding $30 million. The amendment would allow SMI to recoup up to 25 percent of the approved expansion costs over a 20-year period. Cincinnati.com

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