Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tax Breaks For The Super Bowl

When Mayor Bart Peterson (D) was selling the public on a new publicly-financed stadium for the Colts, some of you may recall a little extra push added by the NFL, which more than strongly hinted Indianapolis would be rewarded with the 2011 Super Bowl if it built the new stadium. Without it we were told Indianapolis would never serve as host for the blockbuster event. So Indianapolis taxpayers foot the $700 million price tag for building the Lucas Oil Stadium and now we're being told that's not enough.

We first hear from CIB Chairman Fred Glass that at least $15 million will have to be raised to pay for costs associated with hosting the big party for the rich and famous. Then there was talk that Indianapolis would have to come up with a second practice facility as a condition to meeting the site selection requirements. The Colt's existing practice facility just won't cut it. The $50 million public subsidy for a 1000-room Marriott Hotel we're told will help us shore up the minimum hotel room requirement for hosting the event.

Apparently, the generosity of Indianapolis taxpayers to greedy NFL owners is still not enough. Our esteemed legislature is now considering extraordinary tax breaks specifically for the Super Bowl event. The AP is reporting on efforts to extend sales and income tax breaks for the NFL and the two football teams competing in the event:


State lawmakers could consider giving tax breaks to football teams and the NFL in an effort to bring the 2011 Super Bowl to Indianapolis.

A Senate bill would give a sales tax exemption to the NFL and the two teams that would be in the Super Bowl, said Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville. Lawmakers might also consider amending the bill to include an income tax exemption as another incentive.

"It's part of this cat-and-mouse game," Kenley said.

Not all lawmakers are enthused about giving teams the tax breaks, Kenley said, and the bill could change as it moves through the legislative process.

Meanwhile, Indianapolis officials have been sounding out business leaders' willingness to donate cash and services if the city makes a bid for the 2011 Super Bowl in the new Lucas Oil Stadium, which is being built to replace the RCA Dome.

Indianapolis has until April 2 to submit a bid, a challenging process that requires securing 27,000 hotel rooms, lining up locations for dozens of events and detailing how it would accommodate thousands of fans as well as media that would descend on the city.

The 32 NFL team owners likely will choose the location for the 2011 game at their spring meeting, scheduled for May 21-23. Dallas and Arizona also are considered serious contenders.

So as the legislature for the umpteenth time debates whether to fund full-day kindergarten or provide free textbooks for the children of low-income families, it finds yet another way of subsidizing billionaire NFL team owners. Will this state ever get its mind off all-things sports and start focusing on what really matters?

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

OMG! Is Bart and the boyz such a bunch of whores??!! It is a rhetorical question, but ENOUGH already. Of course they are going to push this now with the Colts headed to the Super Bowl thinking Bart can lead the sheep to the poor house for a football game.

It is time for Indy to start taking care of this town. It is starting to crumble and soon, not enough make-up, or football, can cover the scars and bruises.

Anonymous said...

I heard on the news the other day that each state legislator and Indianapolis city-county councillor has been offered two tickets to the 2007 Super Bowl.

We wlll see how each of them vote on all of the concessions for the NFL this year. Tax breaks! The Democrats have always been against tax breaks for the rich. Bet, they will vote for this one. Enough is enough!

Anonymous said...

Setting the record straight.
The stadium cost is $675 million, not $700 million.
It is not "Indianapolis taxpayers" footing the bill, but the regional food and beverage tax.
The stadium is not just for Colts and the Super Bowl, but for the multiple uses that now occur in the RCA Dome, benefitting a wide range of audiences (the Monster Truck Jam is a 52,000-sellout this weekend ... I doubt it will be a corporate-type crowd).
Most NFL teams, as well as NBA and Major League Baseball teams, play in publicly funded stadiums. Indianapolis and the state are not doing anything that hasn't been done many times elsewhere.
The subsidy provided to the Marriott also is quite common among cities all across the country.
The $15 million for the Super Bowl is being raised privately.
It's not that the Colts' practice facility is not good enough, but TWO teams play in the Super Bowl, hence, two practice facilities. There's a chance that second practice facility could have an extended life post-SB that would benefit the community.
The Super Bowl will have a direct spending impact well in excess of $300 million, meaning money that comes in from elsewhere and is left in the pockets of Hoosiers.
Hosting a Super Bowl will provide Indianapolis an incomparable opportunity to showcase the new stadium, expanded convention center, new airport and new and remodeled hotels to corporate America and will unquestionably position the city as a place for visitors, conventions and corporations to return to.
And this "all-sports" thing ... gee, have you stuck your head out the door in the last three weeks. It's all anyone wants to talk about.
Could it be that folks, both poor and rich, like it?
The sports strategy is a major economic development tool that has re-positioned Indianapolis. It is one of our greatest successes.
It is not part of Indianapolis's problems ... it is part of the solution.
Does anyone remember Indy circa 1969? I do ... and I like this Indy a lot better.

Sir Hailstone said...

"It is not "Indianapolis taxpayers" footing the bill, but the regional food and beverage tax."

Who pays the majority of that?

I rest me case, M'Lud!

Anonymous said...

"The stadium is not just for Colts and the Super Bowl, but for the multiple uses that now occur in the RCA Dome, benefitting a wide range of audiences"

And yet the Colts get all the revenue from their own games, half the revenue from anything in the stadium that isn't Colts-related, and the ability to sell the stadium's naming rights. On paper, sure, the stadium belongs to the public. But let's not kid ourselves: it's the Colts' stadium.

Anonymous said...

Did the Bears offer superbowl tickets to Illinois and Chicago lawmakers over their season ticket holders?

Just curious.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:32

You avoided the point of the stadium being multi-use. Drum Corps International is moving its national HQ to Indy and bringing its world championships -- and 30,000 band kids and their parents -- to Indy primarily because of the new stadium.
By the way, when all those Colts revenues are added up, they still will only be in the middle of the NFL pack, revenue-wise.
I'm happy to pay a few pennies on my restaurant or bar tab for the return on what the stadium will do for my city.
Just as I'd be happy to toss a quarter into a toll booth bucket for what the Commerce Connector will do for Central Indiana.
And I'm anything but a rich guy. Just an average, hard-working schmoe.

Anonymous said...

"You avoided the point of the stadium being multi-use. "

No, I didn't.

The Colts get “half the revenue from anything in the stadium that isn't Colts-related.” That infers there are other uses besides Colts games. (What else could "isn't Colts-related" mean?)

I’m not saying if the stadium is good or bad; I just don’t like people pretending it isn’t primarily for the Colts.

Let me put the issue back to you: if it isn’t, in all practicality, the Colts’ stadium, then why do they get to make money from events in the stadium that they have nothing to do with? Why did the Colts get to keep the money from selling the naming rights for the stadium?

Anonymous said...

"By the way, when all those Colts revenues are added up, they still will only be in the middle of the NFL pack, revenue-wise.
I'm happy to pay a few pennies on my restaurant or bar tab for the return on what the stadium will do for my city."

Good for you. Personally, I prefer paying taxes to support the public good, which is something I don't consider the profit margin of the Colts to be within.

Anonymous said...

Then we have to agree to disagree, because I believe the presence of the Colts and the stadium does serve the public good.
As for why the Colts got this and that, that's what the city negotiated. No one had a gun to anyone's head.
Bottom line is that the Colts are here to stay and the stadium will generate hundreds of millions of dollars to the benefit of hard-working Hoosiers who also happen to be taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

"Indianapolis and the state are not doing anything that hasn't been done many times elsewhere.
The subsidy provided to the Marriott also is quite common among cities all across the country."

In the long run, this is just another example of government over-stepping it's authority. If governments are going to foot the bill via taxation for these stadiums, then the people paying for it should benefit the most. For example, the taxes raised in the new Colts stadium should be distrubuted to the counties which are paying for this. Instead, one person stands to make tens of millions (if not hundreds).

In the end, just is just nothing more than government providing entertainment for the sheep. While a small number of folks will get rich, a little larger number will have nice paying construction jobs, and a similar number will likely have lower paying jobs mopping floors. Basically, we have "New Deal 2." The question remains: Can this ever end? I don't think it can. Government has now created jobs for people, some which pay millions, some which pay a good living, and some which likely won't pay jack. If construction work gets cut in half once the stadium/CC and downtown hotels are done, will the tax income help go to bailout these workers? My guess is that the government will once again build _something_ with tax payer money. Anymore, a tax break, a tax handout, or a tax supplement is nothing more than a new tax. Either a tax will be created or a current tax will not go away (ie: Hoosier Dome Tax from back in the day). You see, government continued to use that tax to build Conseco, Victory Field, etc.. Again, nothing more than a government jobs program.

I predict that as other countries finally see our country for the joke it is (ie: Living on credit cards for the last 50 some years), that the federal budget will likely get hit hard. A lot of governments are going to stop buying our debt which will hurt the dollar (it actually already has). I see local governments have now taken a playbook from the feds: Borrow as much as you can. You can do this without massive tax hikes by basically living on a line of credit. The current system is great if your one of the lucky few that benefit. If you happen to be one of the select elite, it is even better.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:15 (a/k/a Chicken Little)
"as other countries finally see our country for the joke that it is."

You need to do a little traveling. Most other countries see ours as the one they'd most like to emulate.

Do you really believe other countries don't subsidize public projects? Name any recent Olympic city ... Seoul, Athens, Barcelona, Beijing in 2008 (and, yes, Atlanta).

As for the tax money being redistributed to the counties ... feed and beverage tax money IS being redistributed to the counties. And you don't have to contribute a penny. Just don't go out to eat.

Government providing entertainment for the sheep? You know what? The sheep like it. They enjoy it. That's why the city is going nuts for the Colts now.

Advance Indiana said...

Why is it so important that Indianapolis land the Super Bowl. We host 3 racing events at the 500 Speedway that each draw larger crowds and infuse more money into the local economy year-in and year-out than a one-shot deal for a Super Bowl. The Hulman family hasn't gotton one dime in handouts from the government for building the best auto racing track in the world and bringing these world-clas events to our city. Let me ask you, just how did hosting the Super Bowl make Jacksonville, Florida a world class city? I haven't been there, and the fact that they once hosted a Super Bowl would make me no more inclined to visit the city.

Yamaneko said...

Just curious...

I was born and raised in Lake County, which is no home of good government. But when the idea to lure the Bears to Gary came up, two county councilors travelled to northern New Jersey (!) to see for themselves how much good the stadiums did their neighbors, talked to the local mayor who had no love for it, reported same to their colleagues, whereupon the measure was voted down.

Is Indianapolis mad, or just sports-mad?

Anonymous said...

"stadium will generate hundreds of millions of dollars to the benefit of hard-working Hoosiers who also happen to be taxpayers."

Maybe...but fixing IPS would definitly have a better ROI

Anonymous said...

Everyone in Indy is not a sports nut. First class cities provide for their residents first, safe and secure neighborhoods with a top notch police force.

Mayor Peterson and his boyz don't give a hoot about the welfare of the people who live here. Higher property taxes for homeowners in Indianapolis to pay for all of the boy toys. Whenever the bills become due, Bart won't be the Mayor. We will be left to clean up the financial mess he leaves behind.

Kenn Gividen said...

Turns out the Colts are offering politicians the chance to cut in line to get Super Bowl tickets.

See my take here:

Original story here:

Anonymous said...

"As for the tax money being redistributed to the counties ... feed and beverage tax money IS being redistributed to the counties. And you don't have to contribute a penny. Just don't go out to eat."

Ok, I never want to hear you complain about another tax...ever. If you complain about property taxes, move. If you complain about income taxes, don't work. This is the same logic as "don't go out to eat." Sorry, but the current trend in this country pretty much forces folks to eat out at some point. People have to eat and some people have to eat at specific times due to health issues. We can always say "Well, don't have your kids active and therefore you won't have to grab a bit to eat." Fine. If that argument is allowed, please don't let me hear you ever complain about taxes again. Like I said before, if you don't like property taxes, move to a different area. If you don't like income taxes, leave the country. From now on, whenever I hear someone complain about taxes and government waste, this will be my response: "If you don't like it, don't live in this country." Just like no one is forced to go out to eat, no one is forced to live in this country.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:23 AM

No one should have to move out their home for a damn football team either!

Anonymous said...

I have lived here for nine years and goddamned our public official care for nothing but fucking football. Drive around the neighborhoods of Indianapolis and you see the city falling apart. Meanwhile we have to foot the bills for a fucking football team made up of mercenaries.