State won’t pay Super Bowl Public-Safety Costs

Tha Arizona Republic has learned that the City of Glendale is on its own to cover an estimated $2.2 million in public-safety expenses for the 2008 Super Bowl as legislators this week rejected a proposal for the state to share the financial burden.  Senate Bill 1353, lying dormant for months, was revived Wednesday when it sailed through the House.  But the measure wound up two votes short in the Senate just hours before the close of session Wednesday night.  Under the proposal, the state would have shared half the cost of providing public-safety services with any city hosting a mega-event like the Super Bowl.

Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, a former lawman, introduced the measure, with strong support from Sen. Robert Blendu and Rep. John Nelson, whose districts include Glendale, home of the Cardinals’ stadium (The University of Phoenix Stadium).  But two Glendale-area lawmakers – Sen. Jack Harper and Sen. Linda Gray – were absent, and Sen. Bob Burns, R-Peoria, voted “no.”  Burns said tthe cities have sufficient funds to cover such expenses.  “They don’t need to be coming to the state of Arizona to ask for money,” he said Friday.  Burns said he opposes the state’s subsidizing professional sporting events.  “We have some of the richest folks in the country on welfare,” he said.

In Texas, which hosted the 2004 Super Bowl in Houston and will host the 2011 game in the Dallas area, the state helps cover such costs, based on tax revenue that the event generates.  In Arizona, Glendale will host Super Bowl XLII on Feb. 3 and carry the cost of providing public-safety services.  The city has budgeted $3.4 million for the event, with about $2.2 million earmarked for police, fire and homeland security services.

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