Wondering about the Grand Prix's economic impact? Keep wondering

  • Workers from Conder Inc. of Baltimore take down fences related to the Grand Prix race. Left to right: Brian Tweedale (inside forklift), Ron Sitterly, Ray Gavriszeski (climbing fence.) They are working along Pratt Street near the intersection with Howard Street.
Workers from Conder Inc. of Baltimore take down fences related… (Barbara Haddock Taylor,…)
September 05, 2012|By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun

Wondering how many tickets were sold to this year's Grand Prix of Baltimore? 

Curious as to how the economic benefits of this city-subsidized event compare to last year's inaugural race?

Well, you're going to have to just keep wondering.  Race On, the organizers of this year's race, announced yesterday it will not release the number of tickets sold to the three day festival. 

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's administration, which provided about $800,000 in city services to support the race and spent $7 million last year preparing downtown streets to serve as a race course, is not commissioning a study of the economic impact of this year's race. 

Last year's "study confirmed what we know is an undisputed fact and that is the event has a significant positive economic impact," her spokesman Ryan O'Doherty said. "That debate is over."

One piece of economic data about the race will be released, but it's going to take awhile.  The city will announce the amount of Amusement and Admissions tax that it receives.  Since the tax levied at a 10 percent rate, we can get a rough sense of ticket sales by multiplying the amount of the tax by 10 and dividing by the average cost of a ticket.

However, the state comptroller's office, which collects the tax for the city, says Race On has until the end of October to pay the full amount of the tax.  And Comptroller Peter Franchot's office will not announce the amount of tax due, saying it is private information. 

O'Doherty says the city will declare the amount of tax it receives-- but not until the state transfers the money to the city, which could take up to two months.

Twitter erupted with howls of protest when we posted the full story about this last night.  Many Baltimoreans questioned why Rawlings-Blake, who has stressed her belief in government transparency, would not disclose more information about the race's impact on the city. 

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