"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Last month, a controversy erupted when Governor Abbott moved to reign in some of the more absurd subsidies to Austin's Formula 1 track; predictably, the special interests howled in protest:
But Circuit of the Americas Chairman Bobby Epstein confirmed the change places the future of the Austin race in serious jeopardy.The story surrounding Robert "Bobby" Epstein becomes more interesting, however, when one looks through Paul Workman's January 2014 and October 2014 (8 day) campaign finance reports:
Although a few million dollars seems a tiny sliver of a sport contested by teams that spend hundreds of millions of dollars to compete, and that is viewed by an estimated half-billion people worldwide, little of that money makes its way to local race promoters, where profit margins are thin and typically depend on government support.
“To use a technical term,” Epstein said, “I think we’re screwed.”
Epstein said that amounted to “a breach of trust. The state clearly made promises. I think we made a deal, and we lived up to our end of the deal.”
He added: “It’s like you go to a restaurant and order a dinner, and then after you’ve eaten the meal they change the price.”
Nixing the Austin race would be catastrophic to Circuit of the Americas. Although the $300 million facility also hosts other races, such as MotoGP, and includes the Austin360 Amphitheater music venue, the operation revolves around the track built specifically to host F1 races.
In recent weeks the event already has felt severe financial strains. Epstein has described the waterlogged Oct. 25 race weekend as “financially devastating.” Early reviews of last weekend’s inaugural F1 race in Mexico City, meanwhile, viewed by some as direct competition to the Austin event, have been glowing.
Bottom Line: Formula 1 subsidies NEVER had the consent of the governed, either locally or statewide. A final confrontation over those subsidies looms. When it materializes, will Paul Workman stand with Governor Abbott and taxpayers, or will Paul Workman side with his special interest campaign contributors?!?