The House today passed the appropriation, for the fiscal year ending in June of 2018, for War Memorial Stadium. The appropriation includes around $895,000 in state general revenue funds as well as around $2.9 million derived from revenues associated with the stadium, such as concession sales.
This is expected to be the last year at current funding levels. Governor Asa Hutchinson
has proposed to cut state support of the stadium in half beginning July 1, 2018. With the loss of Razorback football revenue, the stadium won't have enough state money to pay its maintenance bills.
Hutchinson has said his aim is for War Memorial Stadium to move to a self-sustaining model without state support.
Rep. Stephen Meeks
spoke against the bill today, arguing that the state should not be funding War Memorial Stadium at all. "Personally, I have nothing against War Memorial Stadium," Meeks said. But it was too much to ask Arkansas taxpayers to put almost $1 million a year into it, Meeks argued, saying that amounted to about 30 cents per person in the state. "They're putting money into a stadium that the vast majority of them never see, let alone go to or attend an event," he said. "Is it a proper and necessary function of the state government to put almost $1 million into a football stadium? I would postulate that the answer to that is no."
He voted against the appropriation along with a few other Tea Party Republicans. The appropriation passed 79-7.