Lawmakers take action after ABC13 exposes state's spending frenzy to bring NBA All-Star to Texas

February 22, 2013 8:36:07 PM PST
Last week at the start of the NBA All-Star weekend festivities, we showed you just how many millions of your tax dollars were going to millionaires and billionaires in order to bring All-Star games to Texas. Now, there is a proposal to stop that practice.

With the NBA All-Star game in Houston last weekend, the world was watching. But so were Texas lawmakers upset with the state spending your money on big screens for billionaires.

"We need to be prioritizing Texans' money in a way that actually makes sense," Austin State Sen. Kirk Watson said.

Our investigation looked in to how your dollars were being spent to attract big-time events to Texas. Plenty of it was legit, but millions were spent in Dallas to buy an arena big screen, and the Houston All-Star Committee wants millions more for massive arena upgrades here.

Late Friday afternoon, Watson filed a bill that -- if done years ago -- would've saved you millions.

"This sort of use of the money deserves the sort of accountability and reporting that this issue's received, and I appreciate what you've done," Watson said.

If passed, no more than 5 percent of the cost of permanent upgrades would be paid for. Taxpayers kicked in $8 million a piece for the Jumbotrons so that change alone would save $7.6 million Texas tax dollars.

"We want that big event to come to our community, but you don't get to put the entire bill on the taxpayer and then continue to make revenue off of the taxpayer's investment," Watson said.

Houston State Sen. Dan Patrick is working on a bill, too. He told us if these funds can't be tightened up, it's time to shut them down.