Pacers Sports & Entertainment (PSE) President Jim Morris said the franchise has shielded fans from the tax by paying about $2 million a year in admission taxes.Morris' chutzpah is off the chart. As I explained earlier on my blog, the only reason for the proposed $12 million in tax increases at all (including the proposed admissions tax which is supposed to net $6 million) is to cover the CIB/City's plan to pick up $15 million in operating costs for the PSE at Conseco Fieldhouse, money a Pacers spokesman has claimed the team didn't ask for and is not required under the contract. PSE gets 100% of the income from Conseco Fieldhouse, including the money earned on non-Pacers/Fever events. Contrary to a few claims now coming from supporters of the propposal, the CIB/City's proposed $15 million gift has never been conditioned on PSE forking over the non-Pacers/Fever revenue.
"We've always eaten it," Morris said. "I think we're going to have to take another look going forward. I understand the rationale for increasing the tax. For a franchise already losing money, it will be difficult to pay it."
Now giving $15 million in taxpayer money to the Simons, the billionaire owners of the Pacers, is not enough. Morris and the Simons want to ensure they have their cake and eat it to by ensuring that the team's $15 million gift comes without any cost whatsoever to its fans and the franchise.
Here's a proposal: Let's not give the billionaire Simons $15 million of taxpayer money and do away with the $12 million in tax increases.