Efforts to establish a special fund to entice national sporting and other events to Louisiana picked up steam Monday.
The Senate Finance Committee endorsed legislation that would establish the Major Events Incentive Program.
A fund would be created into which would be deposited increases in state taxes generated as a result of certain “qualified” events being held in Louisiana. The dollars would be used as an incentive as groups or local governments attempt to recruit major events such as the NFL Super Bowl, the NCAA Final Four, an NCAA Division 1 football bowl game, a Bass Masters Classic, a national Motorsports race or a national political convention.
“Texas has a fund set up for events like this already,” said state Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans and sponsor of Senate Bill 218. “They have been able to capture these new dollars.”
Jay Cicero, president of the New Orleans Sports Foundation, testified in favor of the legislation. He said the guaranteed dollars would come in handy as efforts begin to woo a college bowl game to New Orleans in either 2019 or 2020.
In the past, Louisiana has put up the state’s commitment to events by tapping a fund that is dedicated to the promotion of tourism.
Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who is in charge of state tourism efforts, has argued that another funding source needed to be found.
SB218 now heads to the Senate floor.