Louisiana taxpayers shell out $4 million to high-end course, PGA Tour

Louisiana taxpayers paid $4 million to the PGA Tour and private developers for unplayed rounds at the TPC course in Avondale, near New Orleans, and still owe them more money, according to a local newspaper.I
read that sentence a few times to make sure it wasn't a mistake.
Apparently, Louisiana, one of the poorest states in the U.S. by almost
any measure, agreed to the payments as part of a subsidy to get the
course built in 2004 and keep its associated Tour stop, the Zurich
Classic of New Orleans. The Shreveport Times has all the details of the
Tour's sweet deal, which will likely be in the running for "taxpayer
outrage of the week" on talk radio and cable TV around the country.The
subsidies to Tournament Players Club golf course in Avondale — host of
the annual Zurich Classic, part of the PGA golf tour — end this fiscal
But before
the five-year deal concludes, the state needs to come up with another
nearly $1 million to meet its obligations, according to figures
obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press from Barbara Goodson, deputy
commissioner of the Division of Administration — the governor's
financial office.
will consider whether to approve those additional dollars in the
upcoming legislative session that begins April 27 as they weigh budget
cuts to public colleges and health care services for the poor and
a contractual obligation for the state, and good, bad and in between,
the state needs to live up to its end of the obligation," said Sen.
John Alario, D-Westwego. Alario was involved in the TPC deal, but he
said he didn't know about the payment for the rounds of golf not played.
contractual arrangement was part of a 2001 agreement struck with former
Gov. Mike Foster's administration that guaranteed the golf course — the
TPC of Louisiana — a specific number of rounds of play each year booked
through local hotels.
Greens fees for TPC-Avondale
in peak season are $169 per round. Louisiana residents pay $160. (Resident rates are better in the off-season.) Usually I feel fleeced when
the locals get a big discount, but Louisiana taxpayers earned it.

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by Kevin Cunningham