Thursday, January 17, 2013

Is the Reason for the Proposed CIB Tax Increases to Fund a New Downtown Soccer Stadium?

Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana has an excellent article this morning talking about the announcement yesterday that a professional soccer franchise (albeit minor league) is coming to Indianapolis.  The announcement brought a suggestion that taxpayers are going to be asked to foot the bill:

I found this quote from the Star article to be the most telling:
Ozdemir reached out to local government leaders as well as the soccer community in building support for his venture. 
"To be a global city, you have to have a soccer presence," said Deron Kintner, a deputy major.
Gary concludes with this paragraph:
Perhaps an inquisitive city council member should be asking a few more questions of the CIB as to exactly why it needs funding from two new tax increases while it's sitting on nearly $65 million in cash reserves since its officials told the Administration & Finance Committee this week that the new revenues would be used for operations and not its current debt service.
As I noted on my blog on Tuesday, a bill is being introduced in the General Assembly to sunset the CIB tax increases.  The reason why is that the legislature intended any admissions tax increase or rental car tax increase to be used for debt service, i.e. to repay the state loan it gave the CIB in 2009.  It was never intended for these taxes to be increased simply to increase the CIB's coffers or to go to public safety.  Now we find out that the increased tax revenue is likely to be used to operate a downtown soccer stadium.  Certainly we taxpayers will have to build the facility and the soccer franchise will get 100% of the revenue. That after all is the Indianapolis way.

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