Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Peterson Wants Taxpayers To Subsidize F-1

Keeping up his tradition of providing welfare for the rich while ignorning the needs of every day Indy residents, Mayor Bart Peterson (D) thinks the taxpayers should subsidize Formula One racing in order to retain the Grand Prix race in Indianapolis. Never mind that Formula One is the world's most financially successful racing series and that its principal owner, billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, is one of the U.K.'s richest men. And never mind the fact that the Hulman-George family has never received any public subsidies in the past--because they've never asked for anything. But with Mayor Peterson, there's no mega-rich person he won't open up the taxpayers' wallet to support. The Star's Curt Calvin reports that Ecclestone is looking for $14-$20 million to renew the racing series' contract with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson is interested in doing his part to bring Formula One back to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for years to come.

Peterson, who attended Sunday's U.S. Grand Prix, said the international motor sports event is too valuable to the city not to assist the Speedway in its pursuit of a new contract.

Options from the original contract in 2000 expired after Sunday's race, won by Ferrari's Michael Schumacher.

"They've never asked (for help)," Peterson said of Speedway officials. "If we were asked, we'd be open to getting involved."

Studies have estimated the local economic impact of the USGP at more than $100 million per year. The race has been held annually since 2000.

Peterson said he understands as many as two-thirds of the fans who attend the race are from other countries. Information about Sunday's event is not yet known.

"If that's true, that's a huge impact," Peterson said. "That's 'new' money, which is very important to the city."

Tony George, the Speedway's chief executive officer, plans to travel to London in the coming weeks to discuss a new contract with F-1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. Industry estimates put Ecclestone's asking price to be somewhere between $14 million and $20 million per year.

While admitting surprise at Peterson's offer, George said he is not currently considering asking the city to contribute to his family-owned business. George's grandfather, Tony Hulman, built the company on the foundation it would avoid using public funds.

IMS president Joie Chitwood said there has been no deviation from that.

"We have never asked for any assistance; we have never received any assistance," Chitwood said.

The very thought of taxpayer dollars being spent to subsidize the likes of Bernie Ecclestone is outrageous. Ecclestone and his series have clearly demonstrated in the past a callous and arrogant disregard to F-1's U.S. fans, most notably last year when they failed to manage a tire issue which resulted in only 6 cars competing in the Grand Prix event. Let's face it, F-1 is a rich man's event. The only reason Mayor Peterson wants to give away our taxpayer dollars to subsidize this event is so that he has another weekend of the year when he can escape the average Joes he looks his nose down at and hobnob with the super rich and celebrities who are drawn to the Grand Prix.

The economic impact from the race is realized by a handful of downtown hotels, about two dozen restaurants and Simon's Circle Centre Mall. If it's that important of an event for these select businesses, let them cough up the money. Taxpayers are already forking over a $1 billion for the new Colts stadium and convention center expansion, which disproportionately benefits this group of businesses.

And Mayor Peterson, start addressing the real problems this city faces. In case you haven't notice, you have the worst public transportation system in the country. You have a century-old sewer system that is polluting our waterways. You have the worst schools in the country. You've done nothing to solve the police and fire pension time-bombs. Get some time away from your rich friends and do something for the little guy for at least once in your life.

7 comments:

46038 said...

Across the board, both Repub and Dem politicians use public dollars to lure private business to their cities and STATE…all using the same lame, sadly effective, arguments.

To deflect and add a personal attack Peterson (D) without also pointing out the numerous occasions that a Republican official has done the exact same thing is just more partisan politics.

Anonymous said...

Peterson is a Democrat in name only.

Advance Indiana said...

Anonymous 46038--you originally posted your comment to a post cricizing Mitch Roob's purchase of a Toyota Sequoia. He's a Republican. Also, we've criticized other government incentives handed out by Gov. Daniels, such as the recent Rolls Royce deal. Kind of undercuts your argument doesn't it?

Jay said...

Amen for this post, A.I. F-1 needs help like Joan Rivers needs more plastic surgery.

I second that Peterson is a Democrat in name only. He caters to wealth while ignoring the infrastructure that is crumbling around him. He's just another in a long line of Indy mayors who love to paint over rust. Since the days of Union Station in the 80s, Indy has only come up with short-term solutions to decade's long problems.

46038 said...

Whoa, you really got me there Gary. Even a high school dropout shoulduh realized you were being balanced with your criticism!

From the Rolls-Royce post, you described Daniels(R) use of public funds as:

Gov. Daniels says he was really only concerned about preserving the jobs that are already there. “We started talking about limiting the shrinkage, and wound up talking about growing high-paying jobs in the state,” Gov. Mitch Daniels said.”

From the ‘Peterson Wants Taxpayers to Subsidize F-1’ post, you portrayed Peterson (D) use of public funds as:

“The only reason Mayor Peterson (D) wants to give away our taxpayer dollars to subsidize this event is so that he has another weekend of the year when he can escape the average Joes he looks his nose down at and hobnob with the super rich and celebrities who are drawn to the Grand Prix.”

Yep, nothin like that Good Old Pitiful equal opportunity criticism.

Advance Indiana said...

46038--I think I'm being quite fair. It would be hard to place the Peterson label on Daniels. This is a guy who sleeps over at average Joes' houses everywhere he travels in the state so he can hear the concerns of everday Hoosiers. Don't look for Peterson to start doing that.

And you omitted the following criticsm of Daniels in that Rolls Royce post: One should question, however, whether this incentive package was at all necessary. It appears to me that the state was actually the one who initiated the conversation with the company, and Dwyer, who's obviously no fool, simply said, "you got money to give away, sure I'll take it, tell me what I need to say."

46038 said...

Gary said, “I think I'm being quite fair.’

Right, I’m as equally certain that you think you’re ‘being quite fair.’

Gary said, “I would be hard to place the Peterson label on Daniels.”

I heard old habits are hard to break…

Gary said, “This is a guy (Daniels) who sleeps over at average Joes' houses everywhere he travels in the state so he can hear the concerns of everyday Hoosiers.”

Funny, I heard Daniels (R) invites himself for sleep over’s because he just can’t stop that nasty habit of taking the loin share, even if that means taking it out of the limited reserves of truly hard working Hoosiers. You know, those who spent decades in the hunt.

Gary said, “Don't look for Peterson to start doing that.”

Good grief, I cannot imagine Peterson (D) following that act! Having never meant the man, something just tells me he ‘gets’ that’s what offices, interviews/town halls, email, telephones, polls…are for.

Gary said, “And you omitted the following criticism of Daniels in that Rolls Royce post: One should question, however, whether this incentive package was at all necessary. It appears to me that the state was actually the one who initiated the conversation with the company, and Dwyer, who's obviously no fool, simply said, "you got money to give away, sure I'll take it, tell me what I need to say.”"

Right again; I didn’t really feel the need as I had every confidence you’d present your worse criticism of whom? Certainly not Daniels…it was, THE STATE.