The World Golf Hall of Fame doesn’t appear to be a wise investment for the Florida government, but it is nonetheless determined to preserve it.
The St. Augustine museum has been tabbed by Florida House Republicans as the single-worst bet the state is making with its tax credits, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Tucked away in a 187-page bill meant to root out wasteful “corporate welfare,” there is a clause that awards $2 million in annual tax credits to the Hall of Fame for the next six years.
The House voted in favor of killing 24 tax credits but saved the one paid to the Hall of Fame.
Paul Renner, the Republican sponsor of the bill, simply said, “I don’t know,” when asked why the Hall of Fame’s tax credit was being preserved.
For every $1 the state invests in the Hall of Fame, it actually loses 8 cents. Since the Hall of Fame signed an agreement with the state in 1998, Florida has lost $4 million in addition to the $50 million the state paid the museum in tax credits.
The Hall of Fame is run by the World Golf Foundation, a non-profit group with influence from the PGA, LPGA, USGA and others. The facility never has come close to reaching 300,000 attendees in a year, said Hall of Fame president Jack Peter, despite frequent advertising during PGA Tour events.
According to the state Legislature’s top budget analyst, the Hall of Fame is the worst of all the tax incentive programs the state provides.