- an $8 million cut from the operating budget of the Capital Improvement Board (after they started with a $20 million increase)
- an increase in the ticket tax on all events at facilities the CIB operates from 6 percent to 10 percent (expected yield: $6 million)
- Contributions from the Indiana Pacers and Indianapolis Colts of $5 million each
- a one percent increase in the Marion County hotel tax (expected yield: $4 million)
- a two percent increase in the Marion County car rental tax (expected yield $2 million) the ability to increase the local alcohol tax (expected yield $10-12 million; if county captures 100 percent of local consumption)
- a requested expansion of the PSDA to include the new JW Marriott and expand the scope of the tax to include sales and income (expected yield $8.8 million)
Welsh dissects the Mayor's preposterous spin that raisign hospitality taxes is somehow good for the convention and hospitality industry:
In pushing his plan, Ballard continues to use a message that simply won't sell. "The financial problems related to the CIB did not happen overnight,"said Mayor Ballard. "And this is about more than the CIB. It's about Downtown Indianapolis, which serves as the economic engine for the county, the region and the state. It's about 66,000 jobs and $3.5 billion in annual revenue generated by the hospitality industry." Stop lying, Mr. Mayor. This is not about Downtown Indianapolis. It's not even about the City's convention industry. It's about putting tens of millions of additional taxpayer dollars into the pockets of the billionaire sports team owners every year. It is nothing less than that. Stop your scare tactics now, Mr. Mayor. They aren't working. The gig is up. And if you were really concerned about the future of the City's convention business, you wouldn't be proposing tax increases that could effectively break its back. The Mayor offers this additional good laugh according to the IBJ's Scott Olson: "The mayor said some of the taxes, particularly the alcohol and hotel levies, could be rescinded within five to 10 years, if the convention center expansion and Lucas Oil Stadium attract more events and generate more income for the CIB." Yeah, right, as if any tax increase implemented for the benefit of the CIB has ever been rescinded in the past despite promises to the contrary.
I can imagine the political battles that come. Mayor Ballard has no sway with he Democrats on the Indianapolis City County Council,. They are not about to bail him out of this mess considering that he ran on an anti-tax platform in 2007. With the exception of maybe one or two Democrats, the Republicans on the CCC will have to vote pretty much unanimously for these tax increases in order for them to pass. To get there, Mayor Ballard and advisors Bob Grand, Joe Loftus, and John Cochran will have twist council members arms and threaten like never before. These tax increases will not only seal the fate of the Mayor to being an unpopular one term incumbent, but supporting them will ensure the end of the Repblicans majority on the council as well as several individual political careers. Contrary to the Mayor's spin, the public overwhelmingly sees the CIB bailout as nothing more than taking more tax money and giving it to billionaire sports owners.
We finally got leadership from the Mayor. It's leadership that is taking the Marion County Republican Party to the edge of a cliff. The future of the Indianapolis GOP is most certainly at the bottom of the cliff if they go along with these tax increases.