Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Tax On The Arts To Support The CIB?

I thought I had seen it all but obviously indecency has no limits when it comes to billionaire sports team owners and the politicians who do their bidding for them figuring out ways to make the public subsidize the professional sports team. Believe it or not, your esteemed elected leaders are contemplating a tax on admissions to Indianapolis' theaters and symphony to bail out the CIB so it can find the money it needs to support Lucas Oil Stadium and Conseco Fieldhouse. WTHR's Mary Milz reports on this absurdity:

For one, the mayor and others have suggested increasing the entertainment tax. It's six percent for sports and other events at the stadium, Conseco and Victory Field.

"We have to figure out ways to get revenue," said Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville).
Kenley said another option being discussed is extending the entertainment tax to other venues such as the Indiana Repertory Theatre and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

"We're trying not to do that but we may be forced to, maybe on those (venues) within a mile of (the stadium). Those with activities related to conventions," he said.

It's an idea that's not expected to win rave reviews within the arts community.

"Taxing tickets and not seeing the benefit, I think that would be an interesting and challenging conversation to have with the board of directors and the theatre leadership," said Steven Stolen, managing director of the IRT.

Like other arts venues, Stolen said the IRT is working hard to fill the seats during tough times. "We're trying to hold the line on cost, hold the line on prices and not pass them on to the public," he said.

And what if the CIB doesn't get the new tax revenues it is demanding? Well, it may just turn over the keys to Lucas Oil to the state. Milz says:

So, what if the city didn't find the money? The state paid for the stadium, so couldn't the city essentially give back the keys and let the state deal with the money issues?

"Ultimately, yes. But that's a worst case scenario. We're just going to keep cutting and I think the CIB will operate for some time," said CIB President Bob Grand.

"That's so unlikely we'd ever get to that point. The city wouldn't let that happen, the mayor wouldn't allow it. We have too much regional pride to go there," Kenley said.

The CIB has been awarding several million dollars in grants to the local arts community on top of the City's budget, which was recently reduced from $2 million to $1 million. The CIB is contemplating the elimination of that support, among other things, to close its budget gap. The theaters and symphony already struggle to find enough ticket buyers and supporters to keep their doors open. Would a higher admissions price at this time not be self-defeating? As for turning over the keys to Lucas Oil Stadium to the state, that may not be a bad idea. I can't possibly imagine the state doing any worse job than the CIB has done in its bargaining with the Colts. Perhaps we could get better public accountability from the state for its management than we currently get from the unelected CIB.


M Theory said...

Ok, this shows that they are not politically astute. They know the arts people hate the corporate welfare for sports, right? They know the arts people see themselves as treated like the red-headed step children compared to sports, right?
Dumbest thing I've ever heard. Let them try to tax the arts. The arts anger will be easy to harness. They've been gunning to go after sports welfare for years.
And still not one of those cowardly politicians who are handsomely paid by Ir$ay and $imon have the courage to serve The People by telling the billionaires to pay for their own damned stadium!

Paul K. Ogden said...

"Ok, this shows that they are not politically astute."

Either they are not politically astute or the Mayor's advisors don't really care about his re-election. Pick your poison.

Patriot Paul said...

'politically astute'? This is a minor factor, if at all.
It is really desperation. Watch closely and you'll see the State's involvement with our Local government reach into the mile radius to extract those dollars. They will do anything to save face and 'pride'. What difference to them where the $ comes from? They are revamping Hoo$ier Pride with a $ sign. Might as well call it Miracle Mile, because it will take a miracle to make up the difference!