Thursday, June 4, 2009

Will Governor Daniels Suggest Blowing Up the Capital Improvement Board?

Over at the Indianapolis Star, John Ketzenberger suggests that Governor Daniels today is going to suggest blowing up the Capital Improvement Board in favor of a new panel with appointees from the Governor and local officials.

Here's what Ketzenberger suggests will happen:
Aides to Daniels, Ballard and Grand were still hashing out details Wednesday. They've been talking for more than a week about how to reconstitute the CIB, cut expenses and raise revenue. Time's almost up. Daniels and Ballard are scheduled to present their plans to a special budget subcommittee of the General Assembly at 3:30 p.m.

Because the talks are fluid, it's hard to come by solid details. After checking in with the key players, here are the key concepts:

The CIB will be dismantled, and a new panel will take control of Lucas Oil Stadium, Conseco Fieldhouse, Victory Field and the Indiana Convention Center. The governor and the General Assembly would have appointments to the new board. So would local officials.

To raise additional money, the state will expand the Professional Sports Development Area to include the J.W. Marriott hotel and raise the cap on state sales taxes diverted to local use to about $24 million, or $8 million more than the current cap. It's believed that will go a long way toward balancing the budget if the new board's sole charge is to run the stadiums and convention center.

Many details remain unclear, including the most important: Where will the many public entities that receive millions annually from the CIB get those dollars in the future? This includes the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association, which is contracted to sell space in the convention center.
What apparently has not yet been announced is the tax increases that Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has consistently proposed and it has assumed would be included in the budget. Of course the increase of the PSDA taxing district and raising the cap on state sales tax diverted to local use is simply moving tax money from one pocket to another, leaving other services with less money. That is a scenario that itself can lead to tax increases.

As far as dismantling the CIB, it is good that someone is finally recognizing that the CIB is the problem and that simply funnelling more money into the current Board is not a good idea. On the flipside, a Governor-dominated panel also raises concerns. While Governor Daniels has done a brilliant job handling the state's budget during this unprecedented fiscal crisis, his track record on appointments and supervision of state agencies (the Governor's administrative responsibilities) has been poor. While the locals rightly rail about the obvious conflict of interest Bob Grand had as attorney for the Simons owners of the Colts and head of the CIB, it is not hard to point to appointments the Governor has made of indivduals who likewise have serious conflicts of interest.

The CIB proposal should be unveiled today at 3:30. It should be interesting.

1 comment:

Flipper said...

June 4th, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Greg and Mitch,
When you appoint your members to this new board. How about appointing one member from a non self interest group such as maybe Gary Welch, Melyssa Donaghy, Paul Ogden, Gary Jennings, Ike Randolph, Abdul, Garrison, Amos Brown or one of many other honest individuals including myself that would not lay down for special interest, developers, politicians and big law firms. An appointment like that may put some honesty back in to Marion County Government