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Governor signs tourism bill at AMS

Deal says second NASCAR race should return

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (left) and state legislators stand by Gov. Nathan Deal as he signs into law a bill that creates tax exemptions for major tourism construction projects Monday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (left) and state legislators stand by Gov. Nathan Deal as he signs into law a bill that creates tax exemptions for major tourism construction projects Monday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton.

— Gov. Nathan Deal made it known to Atlanta Motor Speedway officials Monday that he wants to see them go back to hosting two NASCAR annually.

And he went to the speedway with a carrot to dangle in front of Speedway Motorsports Chief Executive Officer Bruton Smith and AMS President Ed Clark.

Deal used the Hampton racetrack as the backdrop as he signed into law legislation that creates a tax exemption to encourage investors to build new large-scale tourism attractions or expand any of the state’s major attractions — including Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The racetrack annually held two NASCAR races until 2011 when it lost its spring race to another Speedway Motorsports-owned track.

“Let me be so bold as to say that I hope this legislation encourages the Atlanta Motor Speedway to bring more races to Georgia,” said Deal to the applause of about 50 attendees of the bill signing.

The legislation, known as House Bill 318, requires investors to invest at least $1 million in capital into their respective tourism projects to qualify for the exemption. Smaller-scale tourist attractions would therefore not qualify for the exemption, Deal said.

However, Deal added, planned new tourist attractions can’t get the exemption if they will directly compete with existing attractions.

The governor also visited Henry County Airport to sign three pieces of Henry County-specific legislation.

Read Wednesday’s editions of Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald for more details.