“I must be missing something,” said Rep. Espich. “Just a year ago, state government and the public were told that the CIB was broke and tens of millions in operational shortfalls were occurring annually. The state was asked to help ‘bail out’ the CIB. Many members of the General Assembly worked long hours to investigate, review and propose solutions.If you want to really work yourself up in a lather, you should go over to the Indy.gov website and watch the video clip of this week's CIB meeting. You will be treated to incoming CIB President Ann Lathrop's explanation of why the CIB closed on a $9 million loan from the state this week. Lathrop said there was no immediate need for the money, but she thought it was the right thing to do to go ahead and borrow the money because there was "no prepayment penalty" and having that extra money would provide more "flexibility as we go into Pacers negotiations and any other challenges that we have in the future." No member asked her a single question about a decision she seemed to have made unilaterally to take out the loan.
“The legislature acted to provide additional state revenues and new taxes to help solve the problem. As a result of this assistance, Hoosier citizens are now paying more taxes. Now, we hear the suggestion that the CIB has so much money that some of the funds could be granted to others. If the CIB has extra funds, consideration should first be given to reimburse the state’s contribution.”
The Indianapolis campus is proposing that 40 percent of the hotel and food and beverage tax generated by University Place Hotel be assigned for use by the natatorium for a 16-year period. This percentage would generate an estimated $4.36 million over 16 years.
“With the state facing a revenue decline and difficult budget cuts, those funds could be directed to public education. I do not doubt the serious need for renovation at the Natatorium and that the facility is extremely important to the city of Indianapolis.”
It seems the university claims that only 40% of the repair and maintenance costs associated with the physical education portion of the Natatorium can be paid out of state funds. The 60% of the facility used for diving and swimming cannot be paid out of state funds, or so says the university. While IU has been engaged in a non-stop building boom for the past several decades, it has been unable to find adequate funds to properly maintain the facility, allowing serious deterioration to the building to occur from a leaky roof, among other things. The entire proposition of the CIB paying for these repairs is nonsensical. I think Indy Tax Dollars sums it up well:
Is one entitled to ask just how much financial support USA Swimming is prepared to offer for the rehab, operation and maintenance of this "perfect facility?" Has the responsibility for paying for what one uses completely disappeared?
For that matter, has common sense disappeared too? The CIB is mired in financial difficulties, among which are the thousands of dollars it already disburses for the support of organizations which have no valid claim on the tax dollars being so used.
Now IUPUI wants nearly $275,000 per year for 16 years to be diverted from CIB funds - which are already being diverted from legitimate governmental expenses - to "...be assigned for use by the natatorium...."
Even if the proposal is not outrageous on the face, we have two questions. Could we be a little more specific as to the meaning of the phrase "for use by?" And, based on precedent, isn't fair to predict that, without fanfare or even public mention, the 16 year period will probably be extended indefinitely? Like the Food and Beverage Tax - the revenue IUPUI is asking for!
Almost no taxpayers wear red suits and have long, white beards. We think the folks at IUPUI are old enough to be told there really is no Santa Claus.