Motorsports Facilities Fairness Act

By:  Lindsey Graham
Date: May 4, 2004
Location: Washington DC

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD
SENATE
May 4, 2004
MOTORSPORTS FACILITIES FAIRNESS ACT

Mr. GRAHAM of South Carolina. Mr. President, I rise today to urge my colleagues to join me in supporting S. 1524, the Motorsports Facilities Fairness Act.

S. 1524 would clarify the tax treatment of motorsports facilities, codifying the 7-year depreciation classification that track owners have used, in good faith, for many years. This classification went without question in numerous audits and reviews until very recently. Now the IRS wants to implement a new interpretation of the law that would result in a retroactive tax increase for motorsports facility owners.

This new interpretation would penalize the owners of motorsports entertainment facilities who have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in these properties in order to meet the demands of sanctioning bodies and racing fans. Technological changes and enhanced safety requirements can render even recent track repair and reconstruction obsolete. Tracks must also compete to host premier racing events, in part by drawing as many fans as possible. This is why facilities must constantly renovate, rebuild, upgrade and expand.

Darlington Raceway in South Carolina typifies this reinvestment ethic. The track that is "too touch to tame," is undergoing substantial upgrades. Earlier this year, Darlington installed "SAFER" (Steel And Foam Energy Reduction) barriers. The track is currently installing lighting for night racing, which will be completed before the next running of the NASCAR Southern 500 in November.

S. 1524 would not only cover large facilities such as Darlington. The legislation would also clarify the tax law for hundreds of tracks around the country, including approximately 30 other facilities in South Carolina alone.

The government should not punish these track owners for making capital investments in their facilities. These investments provide substantial economic benefits for the communities where these facilities are located.

Congress should promptly enact S. 1524 to provide certainty and clarity to the Tax Code and to encourage motorsports facility owners to continue to make economically beneficial investments.