The state, which wrested control from the city over negotiations with the Colts and built the stadium, cannot continue arguing that cost overruns for operations are the city's problem. And the team, which invested all of $50 million in the enterprise and retained all sponsorship rights as well as a cut of all gate receipts, cannot keep calling itself a mere tenant that made a deal cast in concrete.
Encouragingly, state Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, the state's key man in the affair, has offered to work with the beleaguered city in finding a way to close the latest gap, focusing on user fees as the most palatable approach. New taxes, at any level, can only be a last resort if they're not off the table entirely.
What's left? The CIB has suggested the sale of naming rights or sponsorships to the convention center. We would suggest, as we have previously, that the Colts share a portion of the revenue from stadium naming rights and sponsorships, which will exceed $20 million a year. It is, after all, the public's stadium that bears those signs, even if the (rent-free) tenant was handed the spoils.
A deal's a deal? The Colts and the state may sing that refrain all they wish, but the city's negotiators can say much the same regarding their expectations. So can the overburdened taxpayers of a city that's stuck with a management job for an eight-county region.
Let's set the record straight. Jim Ir$ay did not put $50 million of his own money into this stadium. He put in nothing. The so-called $48 million break-up was just a shell game the CIB set up to give the public the appearance he was kicking in something. It is also believed, according to one reliable source, that Ir$ay actually tapped an NFL team owners' slush fund for the additional money, and he has no obligation to repay that money.
We have to stop this bailout. Jim Ir$ay paid nothing for this new stadium. We must change that. It's time for him to step up to the table and give the money back that Bart Peterson and Fred Glass put in his pocket. We still haven't heard where most of Marion County's legislative candidates stand on this issue. Rep. Phil Hinkle, Rep. Jon Elrod, Adam Nelson and Ed Angleton have all gone on the record opposing the bailout. A running tally of where the candidates stand will be maintained at the top right column on this blog. We need to hear from the following:
Sen. Teresa Lubbers (R-District 30)
Sen. Pat Miller (R-District 32)
Greg Taylor (D-District 33)
Sen. Jeane Breaux (D-District 34)
Sen. Mike Young (R-District 35)
Rep. Jeb Bardon (D-District 25)
Ed DeLaney (D-District 86)
Rep. Cindy Noe (R-District 87)
Pamela Hickman (D-District 87)
Rep. Brian Bosma (R-District 88)
John Barnes (D-District 89)
Rep. Mike Murphy (R-District 90)
Rep. Robert Behning (R-District 91)
Stephanie DeKemper (D-District 92)
Rep. David Frizzell (R-District 93)
Cherrish Pryor (D-District 94)
Chad Miller (R-District 94)
John Bartlett (D-District 95)
Greg Porter (D-District 96)
Mary Ann Sullivan (D-District 97)
William Crawford (D-District 98)
Vanessa Summers (D-District 99)
John Day (D-District 100)