For decades the people of Indianapolis have been subjected to a one-sided flood of (mis)information about the public policies concerning the "investment" of public funds. Up to and including the complete mis-use of the word "investment" to wrongly supplant the more honest word of "expenditure."
Despite continuing, severe budgetary problems, we are told that the commitment of a billion dollars of public funds as subsidy for professional sports has been a tremendous plus for the city. (We’ve tried for years to get a definition of the word "city" in this context from those who make the claim.) Does the phrase "world class" come to mind?
We’re now in the midst of a mediawide, semi-hysterical campaign to allow a new tax increase to provide "mass transit" for a multi-county area. While it is generally conceded by all that IndyGo is a very poor example of public transit service, the grandiose plans being presented show no promise that intra-city service as such will have a high priority. But the new plan also generates the phrase "world class."
Being "world class" seems to be the general aim of the supporters of professional sports as well as mass transit. And interestingly enough, both groups make the claim that their projects are what will make the city "world class" and therefore attractive to the "young professional" it so vitally needs.
We began to wonder about that. Is that really a serious consideration? We think there may be some "young professionals" out there with a different approach to living.
There surely must be some of those folks who live in the suburbs because they think a decision to spend $180 plus million on Indianapolis public schools rather than on a basketball building would have been a wise move.
How many are there who think an annual additional subsidy of $10 million to the basketball team would instead give the city a magnificent park system available to all families in the city?
How many are there who think it is reprehensible that the CIB and the city’s bond bank both sit on huge amounts of cash, while a currently undermanned police force goes without a recruit class for lack of funds. (After all, we do need someone to police the tremendous activity on Georgia Street!)
Are there "young professionals" out there who have decided the nearly $800 million spent on the football field might have made a tremendous step toward a public transit facility producing an efficient system for movement in the city for all the John Smiths with no other means of doing so?
And finally, we wonder whether there are a significant number of those "young professionals" who are turned off ethically and morally by the profusion of projects involving corporate welfare in general while so many normal municipal activities are feeling the financial crunch.
We think it is time for someone to make an accurate and impartial survey as to how many "young professionals" have already looked at the day-to-day, decades old operational and financial policies of the city. We should find out how many of these people have already made a different decision - a decision which will be the same for many others.
The decision is, "No, thank you!"