Texas tackles a ticket tax

The 2000 season opener between Odessa High School and Dallas Skyline High School in Odessa, Texas.

TEXT OF STORYBOB MOON: Texas may soon be the latest state to require steroid testing of high school athletes. Lawmakers are arguing not over whether it's a good idea to subject teenagers to random drug tests, the scrap is about who should pay for it. Jill Barshay reports.


JILL BARSHAY: The Texas State House wants to authorize a new fee on high school football and basketball games.

Now, this is Texas, where football is religion. Opponents call it a ticket tax.

D.W. Rutledge is head of the Texas High School Coaches Association. He prefers a Senate version, which would pay for testing with taxpayer dollars. He says a ticket tax may not raise enough cash, and parents could end up footing the bill.

D.W. RUTLEDGE: We don't want the kids that are from financially-challenged families not to have the opportunity to play athletics because they can't afford it.

Texas law maker Dan Flynn wrote the ticket fee bill.

DAN FLYNN: What is the cost of an athletic event, a sporting event that's a volunteer program? Should they not be self-funding?

Flynn says 25 cents from each ticket would be enough to raise the $4.5 million needed for steroid testing. He's negotiating with his Senate counterpart this week.

In Los Angeles, I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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