Key legislative lawmakers didn't even hide the fact that they've been secretly negotiating with IMS officials for the past two years. On cue, the Indianapolis Star reports on key lawmakers declaring their support before a single public hearing has been held on a costly giveaway to one of the state's wealthiest families.
Among the changes will be lights for night events and also improvements to satisfy an agreement with the federal government to make the facility accessible to the handicapped.
Sen. Luke Kenley, the Noblesville Republican who is chairman of the budget-writing Senate Appropriations Committee, said that committee will consider the bill on Thursday.
"I think it's a pretty good plan," Kenley said. "We've worked with the Speedway people for almost two years now; we've been very slow to bring this out. They were very hesitant to come to state government but they don't see where they can find the capital resources they need in any other way. We think we've refined it down to the point if they succeed with this the state will get a return on their investment in terms of more tax dollars being raised than were before."
Kenley said the state thinks it will get back, and then some, the tax revenues it foregoes thanks to increased use of the facility.
"It's a 20 year plan. I would expect that within five years, if they develop the Speedway the way they are talking about doing so and having bigger and better and perhaps more events there, they are going to generate more activity, then we should start seeing some return within a five-year period," he said.
Rep. Tim Brown, the Crawfordsville Republican who is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, also appeared open to the plan.
"Indianapolis 500 is a branding that is across the world," Brown said. "It is something that we are proud of. When you talk to people in Europe, across Asia, Africa -- everybody understands the Indianapolis 500, so that branding we have to keep powerful."What's the point of even holding a public hearing? These lawmakers, who all accept free tickets and other freebies from IMS officials, along with tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the IMS, have already cut the deal to give away our tax dollars and could care less what the public thinks or what services won't be funded because of this giveaway of state tax dollars. Your opinions don't matter. They don't represent the people; they only represent the special interests shoving money in their pockets or offering them free tickets, meals and other freebies. If taxpayers don't get in lawmakers' faces and put the fear of God in their political futures, they deserve the self-dealing corruption that permeates everything the Indiana General Assembly does. These people could care less whether your kids receive a quality public education, have access to health care or provide protection to at-risk children. It's all about "me, myself and I."
There is absolutely no demonstrable public benefit that can be attained by using state tax dollars to make improvements to this privately-owned facility. The Hulmans can't afford to threaten to move their race to another city if the taxpayers don't fork over the money, a threat frequently employed by the billionaires Jim Irsay and Herb Simon to extort more public subsidies for the Colts and Pacers. Yet it doesn't stop the lies from being spewed by those who believe it's the public's duty to finance the private endeavors of the state's wealthiest citizens. From the IBJ:
As state Sen. Michael Young, R-Speedway, prepared to file a bill Monday to divert state tax revenue to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, nearby businesses were pondering how facility improvements could boost commerce in the town of 12,000 residents.
The rule of thumb is “anything that could help Indianapolis Motor Speedway will help local business,” said Connie Harris, executive director of the Speedway Chamber of Commerce.How stupid do they think we are? None of these improvements will have any impact on area businesses. That entire area around the track was a complete shit hole where nobody wanted to invest. The town of Speedway created a TIF district to invest tens of millions of property tax dollars that would have otherwise gone to fund schools and other units of government to make improvements and entice businesses to invest in the undesirable area. The only businesses which want to locate next to the Speedway are the racing teams and other businesses directly involved in racing. It is unattractive to other businesses other than a few restaurants and bars which generate very little tax revenues for the state and local governments.
UPDATE: Make sure you check out Amos Brown's interview with Mark Miles, Hulman & Co. CEO, on his "Afternoons with Amos" radio show this afternoon. Brown is the only person in the local media who has thus far viewed this taxpayer giveaway with healthy skepticism. Miles was clueless about the details of the Indiana Motorsports Investment District legislation being sponsored by Sen. Mike Young when Brown questioned him. Legislators tell the IBJ the district only captures state income and sales tax revenues much the same way the expansion of the professional sports development area did when it was enacted in 2009 as part of the CIB bailout, which allowed the CIB to receive up to $6 million annually from state income and sales tax revenues generated within the expanded development area, along with county option income tax revenues. The IBJ reports the IMS special taxing district will capture "a portion of state sales, income and corporate taxes in and around the Speedway" up to $5 million annually. Miles indicated to Brown that it could also include local sales and income taxes, including the food and beverage tax which currently benefits the CIB, although he really wasn't sure what was being included in the legislation. Miles also makes the outrageous claim that more than 6,000 jobs are generated by the IMS. The Speedway relies heavily on volunteers furnished by nonprofit organizations to staff concessions, parking, ticketing and crowd control related activities during race day events. The IMS donates money to the nonprofits which provide volunteers to help put on the race. No income taxes being paid on those volunteers. Remember that Miles was one of those liars who kept claiming the downtown professional sports teams and hotels add 65,000 jobs to the local economy. Miles and other members of the downtown mafia are renowned for pulling numbers straight out of their asses without any substantiation to support public subsidies for their self-dealing activities. Miles also suggested the IMS is in heavy competition with other race tracks in other states that are building newer and better racing venues with public tax dollars. Again, utter bullshit from Miles. No other race track in the country, including the Daytona track, compares to the size and stature of the IMS.