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SNOW JOB
Donald L. Barlett
December 10, 2001
Thanks to Utah politicians and the 2002 Olympics, a blizzard of federal money—a stunning $1.5 billion—has fallen on the state, enriching some already wealthy businessmen
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December 10, 2001

Snow Job

Thanks to Utah politicians and the 2002 Olympics, a blizzard of federal money—a stunning $1.5 billion—has fallen on the state, enriching some already wealthy businessmen

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?Increased services provided by the U.S. Forest Service, the Postal Service, the Interior Department and the State Department are costing you $16 million.

?Recycling and composting are costing you $1 million, and public education programs for air, water and waste management are costing you another $1 million.

?A weather-forecasting system being set up for SLOC is costing you $1 million. The money is going to the University of Utah to enable its Meteorology Department to provide data that will supplement forecasts provided to SLOC by the National Weather Service. According to a SLOC press release, "the Olympics presents a wonderful opportunity [for the department] to perform a much valued service, while at the same time [helping its faculty fulfill its role] as teachers and researchers."

?New lives planted in Sail Lake City and other communities "impacted," as the funding legislation put it, by the Olympics are costing you $500,000. Said Utah senator Robert Bennett, who arranged for the money, "We do the Olympics because it gets us together doing things like planting trees."

?Security is costing you about $240 million. Given the events of Sept. 11, few people would quibble with so large an outlay even though it's a 150% increase over the federal tab for safeguarding the Atlanta Gaines, which had twice as many venues and four times as many athletes to protect. What's surprising is that $200 million of this was approved before Sept. 11. Less than 24 hours before the attacks, in fact, Romney was in Washington seeking $12.7 million to cover a portion of salaries and expenses for Utah police who will be involved in Games security.

To be sure, at least a few of these federal dollars would have found their way to Utah even if there were no Olympics. Such is the case with some of the money spent on highway improvements. However, because the work on those was put on a fast track, similar projects were shelved in other cities and states. Thus taxpayers elsewhere not only subsidized die Salt Lake City Games, but also lost out because highway work in their own areas was deferred.

Why the federal government should have to pay for so many goodies—U.S. taxpayers aren't asked to build temporary parking lots for Super Bowl cities, for example, or fund NBA drug testing or create special weather-forecasting units for the World Series—remains a mystery. There is little doubt, though, as to who will benefit: Utah, SLOC and a number of wealthy businessmen who have deftly played the Olympic money game.

C.C. AND COMPANY

A new road that enhanced the value of Clinton Charles Myers's real estate investments cost U.S. taxpayers $3 million, which came on top of the $2 million in other federal money that built another road that benefited Myers.

Clinton Charles Myers? You may not recognize me name, but Myers, 63, is a contractor from Rancho Cordova, Calif., who has developed land abutting Utah Olympic Park, site of five of the Games' 15 sports. He is only one of the businessmen positioned to profit from the federal tax dollars lavished on the Olympics. Others include:

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