Members of the Capital Improvement Board are expected Tuesday to address budget challenges driven by a weak economy and $20 million operating deficit for Lucas Oil Stadium.
The cash-strapped CIB also manages and operates the Indiana Convention Center, Conseco Fieldhouse and Victory Field, as well as provides some funding for the Cultural Development Commission, Arts Council of Indianapolis, Indiana Black Expo and Indiana Sports Corp.
“We put together a budget, and we’re in the middle of evaluating what we’re going to do,” said Bob Grand, CIB president. “With the significant economic decline, we’ve got a lot of questions to address.”
Grand declined to speculate on what funding decisions might be made.
This budget problem has nothing to do with the state of our current economy. It has everything to do with a deliberate decision by Mayor Bart Peterson and former CIB President Fred Glass to give away the store to Colts' owner Jim Irsay, even after they learned the legislature would not give the CIB authority to use revenues intended to retire the bond debt on construction of the new stadium for operating expenses. Irsay pays no rent on the stadium and pays nothing to maintain and operate it. He collects all of the game day revenues and half of the non-game event revenues. He also pockets one hundred percent of the advertising revenues from the stadium.
Watch also for the CIB to use the funding problem for the arts as leverage to convince the legislature it needs a state-funded bailout. Olson writes, "The city’s Cultural Development Commission, which has drawn $12.5 million in grants and public money to promote Indianapolis’ artistic side, also could learn how much support it will receive from CIB." “We’ve been in negotiations with them about their needs,” Grand said.
The answer to this problem is really simple. You go back to Irsay, just like Peterson and Glass should have done before construction began on the new stadium., and tell him he will have to give back some of the taxpayers' money. Sorry, Jim, but you are the biggest welfare recipient in the state of Indiana. You're going to have to cut back on your lavish lifestyle just a little and share this burden with the rest of us.