,,, Democrats are coalescing around a report that questions whether the project is affordable. It projects a $37.7 million shortfall over the first nine years of the contract.
On Wednesday, former U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett, the Democrats' slated mayoral candidate, added his voice to those urging the county to put the current proposal on ice, calling it "unwise" to approve it in the wake of the report's findings.
"The very real prospect that the city will not have enough money to make annual payments to the project's private developer — at least in the early years of the decades-long deal — is troubling," Hogsett wrote in an op-ed piece submitted to The Star. "And under no circumstances could I support a public project that puts Indianapolis taxpayers in jeopardy of experiencing a shortfall to pay for it."
His potential Republican opponent, Chuck Brewer, fired back with a statement in support of the project.
"We cannot afford to continue kicking the can down the road," Brewer said. "I believe it's evident that the benefits outweigh the concerns, but unfortunately, as is the case in too many issues, politics is getting in the way."
...Chuck Brewer had a chance to show real leadership, to stand up for taxpayers and against the absurdity of utilizing a third party to construct the facility and act as landlord, with the city being merely a tenant for 35 years in a building built with taxpayer money. Brewer chose not to do so. Further, Brewer not only has failed to criticize the millions of dollars in consulting contracts let by the Ballard administration on the project, illegally without council approval mind you, he also has refused to criticize the administration's practice of paying firms to bid on the project.
The legacy of Mayor Greg Ballard is his consistent support of higher taxes and fees in order to hand out more taxpayer money in an endless parade of corporate welfare schemes. Brewer apparently holds the same disdain for Indianapolis taxpayers as Greg Ballard. There is no reason why a conservative Republican should support Chuck Brewer for Mayor.