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Back to the Capital Improvement Drawing Board?

A plan to use of combination of user fees and taxes to close the Capital Improvement Board’s $47 million operational deficit may have come to a halt even before it had a chance to really get out of the gate.

Republican State Senator Luke Kenley tells me reaction to the plan unveiled last week has been very negative. He says the public doesn’t want to pay more taxes in the economy, there is a growing resentment towards the owners of the Colts and the Pacers and none of the stakeholders are crazy about ponying up more cash.

Kenley says Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is looking at an alternative proposal, but until that plan is unveiled lawmakers need to keep something viable on the table even if it may not pass the Legislature.  

Some ideas that have been floated include expanding the downtown sports district to capture more state sales tax revenue, however that is not popular with some state lawmakers because they don’t want to give up that revenue. 

In addition, Sunday alcohol are not that likely, but Marion County may get a local option sales tax for alcohol similiar to the original state plan penny on a beer or glass of wine and two cents on a shot glass.

Kenley also acknowledged that public perception that there has been a lack of trust is a valid one.  And one result may be to reform in the CIB reporting its financial status.  Oddly enough, the CIB’s financial committee meets later today to outline more potential budget cuts.  

Kenley also says the Colts and Pacers need also be more open with the public.

Despite those challenges,  Kenley says he’s hopeful a deal can be worked out before lawmakers adjourn on April 29. 

You can hear my entire conversation with Senator Kenley by clicking the link below.

Luke Kenley’s Comments

  • Taxpayer 834512

    More TIFs? More taxes? You’re going to either take needed revenue away from our infrastructure or tax us for sports teams? Yes, either would be perceived “very negative” and contribute to further “growing resentment”. You need public help to defray further expenses of downtown teams? I volunteer to push a broom or clean bathrooms twice a year. I don’t even have to see a game.
    .
    It’s the same impression, deserved or not, that you get with the school board. When the information is presented in ‘educratese’, with a fairly indiscernable budget handout, a website that’s promotional-centric not taxpayer, and too much smiling and handing out of plaques relative to needed public debate of issues- you become more than wary. Teams and the CIB should have historically made the extra effort to always, openly, clearly communicate to average citizens (versus senate committees) on this JOINT endeavor. I don’t know that this can be pulled out of the fire, but first three suggestions: Open the books, schedule public meetings at night, and keep Mr. Polian away from public relations.

  • Wayne Kirk

    I dare them to raise our taxes anymore for the CIB or any other projects. This will not only motivate more people to join in the efforts to oust any sitting incumbent who votes for such increases, but it has also helped grow the Libertarian Party by leaps and bounds.

    I have never seen so many people in my life shed their political affiliations and consider themselves Independent/Libertarian as I have in recent years and I believe someday America will rediscover it’s roots that our nation was established upon Libertarian (Liberty-based) principles.

  • Really

    STOP CONSTRUCTION ON THE CONVENTION CENTER!!!! That would save $150 million plus. If we can’t pay for what we have now then why keep building more????

  • John Howard

    I guess no one is looking into the bankruptcy angle? If I was deeply in debt, I would not consider robbing a bank to get the money, I’d look into filing for bankruptcy.

    That’s what the CIB should do, as has been suggested by at least a couple local lawyers.

    The process is not an end, its a new beginning – which is what the CIB needs (not to mention new staffing).

  • pascal

    That Mr. Kenley is involved at all is a defeat for taxpayers.

  • Jon G

    Right on John!

  • Shorebreak

    So we have a new direction. We won’t hold our breath until we see that it’s the right direction.
    .
    With regard to Colts and Pacers being more open, let’s start by opening their books going all the way back to the first public finance arrangements. If they want public funding, make the books public. All of them. Period. Once we see how things have gone down in the past we can begin to understand how things are positioned for the future.
    .
    Until then, keep everything on hold. Show us all of the cards now – past and present – so that the public can decide on the value of supporting these organizations. We’re tired of being poorly represented.

  • Wants to drink on Sunday

    Why are Sunday alcohol sales off the table? This is a stupid law and would add the revenue they need.

  • ProspectorBill

    An observation.
    The good people of Indiana stopped attending Pacers games when public perception was their hard earned money was going to shady characters. Mr. Polian I don’t assume you read this blog, but I’m betting your “people” do. As a former season ticket holder my ROI for LOS has caused me not buy season tickets. I am not alone. It may not be this season that you feel the pain, but it will be next unless you start to find some humility. Hoosiers are quiet folks who will vote with their pocket book and that “gem” of the city will see no one sitting above the 3rd level.
    Mr. Lucas, your people might want to look into the bad PR that you are receiving because your name is mentioned with a tax increase. OK if you’re a politician, not when people make a choice to purchase your product.

  • Grover

    Because, “Wants to Drink on Sunday,” here in the midwest, nothing changes except the direction of the wind.

    I’m not really a drinker, but that is one of the most ridiculous laws still in the books.

  • http://www.hoosiersforfairtaxation.com Melyssa

    Bankruptcy is the only HONEST answer. I would, for once, like something honest from my government.

  • Haskell

    I still believe that the city and metro area are better off with the Pacers and the Colts than without them. The problem is that there has been no hard negotiations. Those that “negotiate” have been so giddy about talking with pro sports owners that they put themselves in a poor negotiating position.

    Not sure that I necessarily blame them but part of the reason that CPA’s and Attorneys get on the CIB is to generate business for their firms. Again they cannot antagonize during the “negotiations”.

    Privatizing the CIB buildings, including Lucas Oil Stadium, is tough to do now but is the best solution in the long run.

    For now we need to up the alcohol taxes with a 5 year limit on the time that the CIB will get that cash flow. We need to be real and up the alcohol taxes enough to solve the problem. This may mean 5 cents on a beer or cocktail. This may be hard to swallow in the beginning but after the first couple of drinks no one will notice.