...while trying to cover several items very briefly.
Looks like we’re going into the hotel business again. "We" being the taxpayers, and, as usual in Indianapolis, it will be done in secrecy. The IBJ tells us, "City officials are working behind the scenes to get it done." "It" most likely being the deal on how much subsidy the developer will be handed.
Speed is the big factor here. The deal has to be put together in time for the mayor, the CIB, and the Super Bowl bid committee - all the movers and shakers who will ultimately benefit - to offer an adequate bribe for the millionaire/billionaire owners of the NFL to deign to grace us with their presence.
Said hotel will be located at the Pan Am Plaza - the subject of our next "bit."
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The same article in the IBJ presents a chart showing the chronology of the Plaza , starting with the city buying that city block bounded by Capitol, Georgia, Illinois and Louisiana streets in 1985. We’re not told the price paid.
The following year the land was given to the Indiana Sports Corp. (ISC). Twenty two years later, after a series of financial disasters, the land was sold. Once again, there is no reference to the amount of money involved, nor is there any indication of which individual, body or agency - public or private - received those funds.
One might think it reasonable for the taxpayers to be given some detail of the fiscal transactions for the area, and just what the city already has "invested" before asking for subsidized hotel construction on the site.
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The next "bit" concerns an interview with Mayor Ballard published in this morning’s paper. He comes up with some really astonishing ideas. He justifies the eternal subsidy of the Pacers with the suggestion that the team actually has been subsidizing the city by covering operating cost of the fieldhouse! That's what the man said!
He compares the Pacers deal with that of the Colts at the stadium and, again as usual, it seems never occur to him that if any negotiations are to take place, they ought to be to change the deal with the Colts rather than with the Pacers. Demand renegotiation, Mayor, just like you do with the IMPD.
He also justifies using certain "one time" revenues for capital expenditures - usually a reasonable approach. But it implies no further costs for maintenance of the project so approved. And he cites legal restrictions on use of funds for specific purposes as opposed to money from a single pot. That situation exists because he and the rest of the downtown beneficiaries want it that way, as we pointed out in our blog posted on August 15.
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Our last bit concerns a brief reference to a revolting idea suggested in an opinion column in the IBJ. In writing about a need for public revenues, the columnist says this. "Thanks to America’s current hysteria over the very idea that we should pay for public services...."
If any such hysteria exists, it does not involve paying for legitimate pubic services. It involves starving usual and ordinary municipal services, which citizens have every right to expect, by diverting tax revenues in every possible direction. That includes all three of the preceding items, and more too numerous to mention here.
Approximately one billion dollars worth of Indiana’s most valuable real estate parcels, and the improvements thereon, are off the property tax rolls in the center of this city for the benefit of two professional sports franchises. Based on precedent, it is reasonable to expect some more millions will be thrown at the proposed hotel construction so the city can try to win another Super Bowl - that in itself to cost a few more million tax dollars.
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We have our own suggestion to help out the Super Bowl and mass transit at the same time. How about a zipline from the Palladium to the Stadium? That could be the "express" service with the "local" retained on Georgia Street.