Sunday, September 4, 2011

Will the Mayor and Council Republicans Commit Pacercide?; Council Faces Vote to Approve $10 Million Giveaway to Billionaire Simons Just Three Weeks Before the Election

Mayor Ballard with front row seats at a Pacers game.
In 2007, just a couple months before the election, Mayor Bart Peterson pushed a 65% increase (taking the rate from 1% to 1.65%) in the County Option Income Tax through the Council.  To get it passed, Peterson demanded that Democrats vote as a block for the tax increase.  The vote, which came on the heels of a property tax revolt, resulted in Peterson getting booted from office and the Republicans, who opposed the tax increase, taking over the council.

As Yogi Berra said, "It's deja vu, all over again."  This time it is not Democrats, but rather Republicans who are faced with having to make a highly unpopular vote on October 17th, just three weeks before the election.  The Star reports:
The Capital Improvement Board on [August 22nd] approved a $77.5 million operating budget for 2012 -- but it comes with a $10 million asterisk. 
The CIB had agreed to pay the Pacers that amount in January for operating expenses at Conseco Fieldhouse -- the third and final installment of $30 million the CIB had agreed to pay the National Basketball Association franchise as part of a contract negotiated last summer.

Although the 2012 budget contains that $10 million, it's unclear what will happen if all or part of the upcoming NBA season is canceled because of labor strife. Players and owners are negotiating a new collective-bargaining agreement.

CIB President Ann Lathrop said it's too early to speculate whether some or all of that $10 million would be paid, but she said the building would have operating expenses regardless of the NBA season's status.

Mayor Greg Ballard's office continues to communicate with the CIB as the NBA's labor talks progress, said his spokesman, Marc Lotter. But like Lathrop, Ballard, a Republican, has said the building will have operating expenses regardless of whether the Pacers play next season.

The budget will be introduced to the Republican-controlled City-County Council on Sept. 19. A vote is scheduled for Oct. 17.
Imagine the scene.  It's mid-October and let's say the the Democrats employ the obvious political strategy of forcing a separate vote on whether to approve the $10 million in the CIB budget for the last installment of the $33.5 million taxpayer giveaway.  The only way Ballard will be able to get that proposal through the council is to publicly advocate for the giveaway and demand that council Republicans vote as a block for the incredibly unpopular proposal.

While it can be argued that the CIB is contractually obligated to give that money, that won't matter to voters.  Giving $10 million in taxpayer money away to the billionaire Simons three weeks before the Election would be as bad as the political suicide Democrats committed in 2007.   Will Mayor Ballard and Council Republicans do it anyway?  Probably.

Let's call it Pacercide.


Jon said...

Neither nor the mayor or the Republicans on the council have done anything close to smart, what makes you think they will start now?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Jon, I agree. If Ballard and council Republicans support this three weeks before the election, you can bet it will be a major part of the negative advertising against them.

Crossed said...

I believe that is Brizzi sitting next to the mayor.
Any chance you can get a list of all the attendees to events in the mayor's suites at Conseco and Lucas?

Bill said...

Plowmans trial will bring to light the pay to play culture that the Mayor has brought to the city

Nicolas Martin said...

Pacercide is a defective neologism.

The first part of a combined word ending in "cide" indicates who or what is being killed. For example, in suicide sui is from the Latin "of oneself." Regicide is the killing of king. Fratricide is the killing of a brother. Patricide is the killing of a father.

The Pacers are not being killed, the taxpayers are, so closer to the mark would be serficide or ovicide, borrowing from ovis, the Latin word for sheep.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Good point, Nic. The term doesn't work.

Had Enough Indy? said...

I don't believe the Ds could do much more than propose an amendment to the budget, if that's even as far as they felt like taking it.

I am missing something here, though. Why do Lathrop and Ballard both say the Fieldhouse still has operating expenses. Don't we pay for those regardless of the Pacers' schedule? I don't see where the $10 m has anything at all to do with expenses for the building.