As the fiscal year winds down and the states $2 billion deficit still looms, lawmakers are understandably growing more skeptical about the proposed Eloy theme park bill. There are plenty of good reasons to be skeptical, such as the fact that it provides a private entity tax-exempt financing. Lawmakers can also simply look to the north at other skeptics.
According to the Arizona Daily Sun, a private entity hoping to take advantage of a theme park district in Williams is facing mounting reluctance from the Coconino County Board of Supervisors. It seems the backers of the Wild West theme park concept in Williams want to tap into $500 million in tax-free bonds and be exempt from paying property taxes without having to provide a transparent review of their business plan in return. Similarly, and also without identifying themselves, the financial backers of the Eloy theme park seek to benefit from $750 million in tax-free financing and property tax exemptions.
All of this is beside the point. There are fundamental roles for state government and establishing a theme park isnt one of them. The legislature should stay out of this and let the market determine whether there will be a rock and roll rollercoaster in Eloy.
Steve Voeller is president of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club.
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