To those subscribing to the blog for SEO/PPC reasons, this is slightly off-topic – but thanks for the indulgence. I’ll be back to the “big picture” stuff in my next post….
Howard Stovall runs Signs Now- a full-service sign company in Lexington, and is a major advocate for local business. Recently he posted a well-articulated letter to the editor in the Lexington Herald-Leader and Business Lexington… but I wanted to reprint the letter here since kentucky.com doesn’t seem to bother allowing Google to index many of its pages .
Howard Stovall Wrote:
The state (KY) has already spent $81 million in taxpayer dollars on Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. I expect the final tally will be in excess of $100 million, at a time when our budget is in crisis.
Yet when we note the contractors who have received in excess of $100,000 in payments from WEG, we see that Leroy Neiman has been paid $240,000 for the official art.
Nothing against Neiman’s work, but could WEG not find a Kentucky artist or artists to award this contract to? I have seen the superb work of several of our local artists, and they pay Kentucky income taxes on their work.
Likewise, $160,099 was paid to a Cleveland firm (Digiknow) for Web site development. I know of several local firms that are more than capable of providing this service and doing a better job than the mediocre site that has been created.
There is no telling how many smaller contracts have gone to companies outside the state when local firms are perfectly capable of providing those goods and services. If Kentucky taxpayers are asked to support this or any other project, then Kentucky businesses, with the jobs they provide and taxes they pay, should have first shot at vendor contracts.
The Games are being paid for with revenues from tickets, sponsorships, licensing fees and trade-show rental spaces. No taxpayer money is being used for the operation of the games itself, but state has provided about $81 million to build an indoor arena and an outdoor stadium and provide extensive road upgrades at the Kentucky Horse Park. Organizers are predicting a financial impact statewide of $150 million, with 600,000 ticketed spectators – but that prediction preceded the current economic downturn.
On a high point… I was pleased to see that Red7e , a Louisville company, is in the game for WEG marketing…. and got a (very) small warm feeling that they managed to run a poster contest (with applications distributed at the CA-built lexingtonky.gov site – ironically)