Before we even think about another tax to make up that reported $47 million shortfall, an independent auditor must be brought in to look at the books. I want that person to tell the public what happened to the money. Why is the CIB in this current hole? Who is responsible?
Meanwhile sports fans and taxpayers left these gems as comments. Comments that folks like Bob Grand (president of the CIB & Pacers attorney) and State Senator Luke Kenley (who accepts every campaign contribution he can from Irsay & Simon), completely ignoring the taxpayers in favor of their rich insider clients and contributors.
A FEW CHOICE COMMENTS:
"Don't come to me for another tax increase to support the pro sports teams in Indy. I am about ready to tell them to get lost. The only people that make any money from pro sports is the downtown merchants; hotels, restaurants, and such. The average tax payer sees nothing--they only pay out.
Hospitality--be darned. No one travels to Indy to see a pro sports game unless it is a playoff or semi-final or final game. As you travel, if you tell anyone you are from Indianapolis, they will say " Oh yeah, that is the home of the Indy 500". They will say nothing about pro sports complexes. By the way, the Indy 500 is self supporting, and they have put all their money back into the business and continue to expand and improve--a lot more than we can say for the pro sports complexes downtown."
"They did this on purpose. They concealed the costs until it was built so we would have no choice."
"If they had divulged the actual expense to operate LOS the public would have remonstrated and the building would not have been built without an alternative means to fund it. There is absolutely no way the CIB and those supporting the building of these buildings didn't know what the costs would be to operate them or at least, a pretty good idea.
We have already paid 'our share'. No more! It is time for those who think these structures are such a great deal for the city to step up and take responsibility for operating them. The taxpayers have done their part."
"This is outrageous to treat the tax payers as if we are some sort of bottomless piggy bank both locally and nationally. We no longer go downtown to eat or spend other money nor do we rarely eat out locally and not because of the economy. As much as I enjoy sports I can not get behind the apparent short sighted planning. I'll bet it was in the plan to go to the taxpayers as needed. I'm all for shared responsibility but we are practically footing the bill while owners and players are making millions. Maybe our market is not large enough for these teams. It's time for another tea party."
"From the desk of The Joker: I admit to agreeing with this article. Why should the "average citizen" be required to pay for a team they do not support. The whole arguement about state or regional benefit is absolutely crazy - you don't hear or read about the "Indiana Colts" or the "Indiana Pacers. So explain to me again how this helps Fishers, Noblesville, Fort Wayne, or Goshen? As to asking the teams to kick-in $5 million is ridiculous. Tell them to wipe out the debt each year from their TV dollars and the remainder goes to the teams. Now that is a proposal even The Joker can live with...LOL The Joker"
"Nice column, Bob. Would it be wrong to ask the Pacer and Colt *players* to help out here? I see pay cuts coming (at least) where I work, know people who've been forced to take 'em or forced to take furloughs such as at the Star. And I know lots of people who've lost their jobs. So why aren't the players helping here (yes, they pay a small tax to the bumbling fools at CIB, but it's next to nothing)? Conseco/LOS are both taxpayer funded, and without them, the players couldn't make their millions. If both team's (remember that word, team?) players paid $5 million, total per team, even if for a short term only, that $10 million would help keep the door's open AND show they cared about the community (as our food pantries are overflowing with the hungry). You're right, there's nothing in their (nor the Simon's/Irsay's) contracts that say they *should* do this. It's just that maybe if they really is such a thing as a "team" player, now is the time for everyone to show it."
"tony george for mayor."
"What especially galls me about this whole situation is the fact that NO ONE at CIB has lost their jobs. Who is responsible? I'm sure we can find a rail to ride them out of town on."
"While I won't arsue the points in the column, the sad fact is that the discussion about sports teams and our local economy are focused in the wrong direction.
We should be discussing and holding those accountable who told us that our "investment" in these sports palaces and the convention center were going to bring in huge amounts of tourism dollars to prop up our tax base and tax revenue to make these "investments" viable. Not only should the local boards be held accountable, we need to hold the consultants who wire hired to "study" these "investments" and advised us that these investments would pan out.
I went thorugh this argument with our local tourism officials when they had studies done and presented the citizens with data that said all this spending provided us with tremendous econmic returns. Sadly, close study of their data revealed that much of the return was due to spending already in place, visits by friends & family members from out of town."
"You are so true Mr Kravitz, I am tired of bailing people out My rear is tired of it. i work everyday to keep afloat. The Obama 'tude to spread the wealth is really starting to stink. Time to put my cash in a box - sell all my stuff and live in a low taxable dump."
"It really IS simple Bob. Let the mega billionaire owners WRITE THE CHECK!! They are using the Pacers as a bargaining chip. 15 million to the Simons, is like 15 bucks to the taxpayers. I suggest if the Simons want to make money with the Pacers........WIN!!!"
"This country has a disease and the citizen are catching it by listening to the politicians. The Republicans have some blame, but it is by-in-large Democrat thinking. Spend tax money from your pocket and the return on the investment will pay off in a large benefit. Spending $1 million dollars of your tax money and it will bring back $1.5 millions in jobs and benefits is sending us to a huge deficit. Obama has his leeming believing it. The CIB touted the spending on the stadiums and I do not think each dollar is bringing back a dollar."
"i f the people could see the wages that union workers make at the convention center for doing nothing= actually hiding until there is a job to be done. because they dont like 50 workers loitering around they put them in a room and pay everyone they're wage..on a sunday it could 30 to 40 dollars an hour. the job could be done by ten or fifteen people for a day. gotta love the good ole boy network. look what it's doing to gm and chrysler"
"Couldn't have said it better myself. Do you know Sen. Kenley? Maybe you could have your people contact his people and have lunch, say sometime before the end of the current General Assembly, and make him an offer he can't refuse, to back off the collective tax increase proposal, before he gets a horse head in his bed?"
"Kravitz has hit on several key points here but let's focus on just one, convention traffic and downtown businesses. Chicago is pricing themselves right out of the Convention market, in large part due to all the taxes placed on lodging and food. Las Vegas and Orlando are right behind, it is just becoming too expensive for a company to send people to those locations. Indy is very attractive and could become a major player in convention hosting. This will NEVER happen, however, if the city & state keep placing tax upon tax on those who visit and mingle in Indy. I agree 100% with Kravitz, bring someone in to do an audit, get others (like IMS people) involved in the managment of the CIB. Something needs to happen. You can't shove 10 lbs of crap in a 5 lb bag and expect to get anywhere. This is precisely what the CIB has done, and it's why they've got it all over their shoes!!!"
"Politicians and their appointees need to check their egos at the door, and exercise some fiscal responsibility. If pro sport teams insist on receiing public money via sweet arena deals, they need to open their books. These teams want to have it both ways: get the public money, leverage their "worth" to the city, and not come clean on their books. The city shouldn't allow it."
"Tax payers should not be responsible for building stadiums or funding the light bill. AIG, Fannie, Freddie, Detriot and others should not be bailed out by our children and grand children either. Responsibility resides with individuals, not the public treasury."