Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mayor Still Dodging Questions On CIB

I don't know how else to say it than to say it was really painful listening to Mayor Greg Ballard try to answer questions before the Indianapolis Star editorial board today. His non-answer replies this far into his term is simply unacceptable. He totally dodged giving a straight answer to Matt Tully's question about his plans for dealing with the CIB's so-called budget shortfall. The Mayor acts like it's someone else's decision over at the CIB or at the State House to come up with a solution for the CIB's budget problem. Whenever they figure it out, he'll tell us what is going to happen. That is unacceptable leadership. It's also clear that his commitment not to rely on a general tax increase is very narrowly defined. For example, a food and beverage tax increase would be paid by someone who benefits from the sports facilities by his way of thinking. His responses to questions relating to public safety, his supposed forte, were abysmal. It is becoming all too apparent that he's not calling the shots in his own administration. Someone hands him some brief talking points on each subject and he simply repeats those lines, albeit in a butchered fashion, over and over again without really saying anything you can really understand. Click here to view the interview.

UPDATE: I attended the Mayor's Night Out tonight for my downtown neighborhood. I could not be more angry at Mayor Ballard's handling of my question about the CIB problem. Firstly, his staff altered the written question I submitted asking the Mayor to explain which taxes he intended to raise to bail out the CIB. His staff altered it so that it was posed as a pro sports team question, extolling the virtue of having two professional sports teams and how our downtown wouldn't exist but for their presence. The Mayor feigned astonishment that the question would be posed positively and not negatively as he says he's accustomed to hearing the question. He once again deflected responsibility to the CIB and the legislature for figuring out what had to be done; however, he made it clear there would at least be a new ticket tax imposed to address the problem. The ticket tax is very popular with politicians like Mayor Ballard because they never purchase tickets to sporting events. They get their tickets for free from the CIB or lobbyists and enjoy free food and drinks in the luxury suites. What really angered me, though, was Mayor Ballard's suggestion that the motive of anyone who opposed increasing taxes to bail out the CIB was to get the Colts and Pacers to leave town. That's what your Mayor said tonight. If you think the public has paid enough and that the billionaire sports team owners should pay their fair share, you are essentially telling the Colts and Pacers to leave town. I've commented that the Mayor's staff has been quietly telling people that if this bailout does not go through the state legislature, there is a real possibility that the City will lose the Pacers to Seattle and the Colts to L.A. As far as I'm concerned, the Mayor essentially stated the same tonight. Either you, the taxpaying public, dig deeper into your pockets to provide additional subsidies to the Colts and Pacers, or they will leave the City. Forget about the billions you've already subsidized them over the years. That all means nothing now. A gun is being held to your heads. Hand over the money or else. Particularly insulting to the downtown residents gathered tonight was the Mayor's suggestion that the only reason we choose downtown as our home is because of the Colts and Pacers. You are completely clueless, Mr. Mayor. Unlike you, I have spent almost 20 years living in downtown Indianapolis. My decision to live downtown has absolutely nothing to do with the presence of the Colts and Pacers. If you think downtown's existence is totally dependent upon the presence of these two teams, then you demonstrate just how little you know about this City. Thanks for nothing, Mayor Ballard.


Unigov said...

In a sense Ballard is right, the state created the CIB and the state will have to bail out the CIB. The structure of the CIB was created to hide decision-making and accounting from prying eyes.

Ballard though, in "selecting" Bob Grand as head of the CIB, showed he is useless. Ballard and Grand should resign.

People get the government they deserve though...Hoosiers thought - and most still think - that putting $650 million into a new stadium for the Colts is sensible.

If the taxpayers portion of the yearly payments and opex had to be covered by a ticket tax, the tax would be about $60 per ticket.

Hoosiers are also dumb enough to think we needed a new billion-dollar airport - but see:


Paul K. Ogden said...


"The state created the CIB and the state will have to bail out the CIB? Huh?

The State created every county, city, town and local government entity in Indiana. What does creating them have to do with the requirement to bail them out when they do stupid things like spend more than they take in.

Anonymous said...

Again, we see more proof why one is morally justified in not paying their "fair share" in taxes. There are ways to not pay the Ir$ay, $imon, and ¢IB taxes. Democrats know how to play the game. They don't pay taxes because they know they the taxpayer money will be wasted and funneled into selected rich elites.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The "state bail out" to which you refer, u, means another tax increase for Marion County residents.