I really see no problem with this. LDS inc and its members are probably the biggest consumer and visitors to the State Fairs and rodeos; the only problem is for the rest of the world Mormons in Europe, South America, Canada, Asia, Africa... They sent in their tithes thinking God's temples, chapels, schools, philanthropies, etc... would be built by their tithing.
So even though most of the full tithe payers are in Utah, why exclude the rest? If they (LDS inc.) can prove that the $3 million is coming from Utah tithe payers, it would be no different than when the AZ Cardinals were paid for by all of Arizona's tax payers, but only the PHX area (Maricopa County) got the benefit of the team (businesses, taxes, commerce, etc...)
I don't see how this is any different from any other state in the Union that has state fairs and arenas to host state fairs?
It's a significant contribution by the LDS church, but it is in downtown SLC. Renovating the fairgrounds close to Temple Square helps improve the downtown infrastructure, and is also a boon to the community.
Corporations do this on an annual basis - look for ways to give to their communities. It's good for their public and corporate image.
When you consider the church is really a corporation, then it's a business decision and good PR for the church.
That's what I was leaning toward. LDS inc. is no longer a "church" or a place of religious community. It's a conglomerate of various Profit and non-profit businesses (Deseret Books, Newspapers, BYU tv, etc...)
So like I said, for Microsoft or Staples or various other corporations to provide funding to stadiums or parks is very acceptable and appreciated.
The real farce is that LDS inc. keeps being tax exempt and fraudulent in their philanthropies and charities and foundations because they're able to call themselves a church. "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" doesn't really exist after the Morrell act and the Edmund-Tucker Act 1887 confiscated all of the corporation assets. It's the Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" but DBA the LDS church.
I mean if they would just become a real estate company, farming, cattle, newspaper/communications, book publisher, land developer, Beneficial Life/Investments, Law Firm, etc... They would have to start declaring wages, taxes, earnings, etc... This way they can keep high paid G.A.s and BYU presidents, etc... in their payroll and have free labor from the members.
God, this kind of thing was so tough for me when we were poor married students with two kids and had to make decisions about which true needs we would spend money on so we could pay our big $100 or less a month in tithing.
At least back then (early 80s), it was hard to hear about the things TSCC spends money on. Living in Provo and being at BYU, you'd see some of it for yourself, but if I knew I was struggling like that for them to build malls and entertainment arenas, I don't know that I could have done it, no matter how afraid I was of God.
Of course, they'll say "no tithing money was used." And it blows me away how that placates poor struggling people. First of all, if they have so much that they can blow it on malls and arenas and apartments and hunting preserves, they could easily ease the tithing burden on people who need a break. It's all the same pot. In our church we are given the budget each year and all sources put together make up what we can allocate to expenses. It's only set aside for specific purposes if the donor stipulates that, which I've only seen in some endowment money. If you can talk old people into giving all their money to the church, then do the tithing on some kind of formula that gives a break to young families and still allows them to have a temple recommend.