Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Evansville Council Approves $20 Million Taxpayer Subsidy For Downtown Hotel

Proving once again that public officials in Indiana are the most corrupt and ignorant in all of America, the Evansville city council unanimously approved giving $20 million to an out-of-state developer from Branson, Missouri, HCW, to build a new downtown hotel the city's mayor, Lloyd Winnecke, claims will leave the city in ruins if it is not built. Mayor Winnecke originally planned to give the private developer $37.5 million for the downtown hotel project, an amount he lowered to $20 million after some city council members balked at such a large contribution to the project and after the county commissioners coughed up $2 million for the project. Winnecke believes that by building this Hilton Doubletree Hotel the city will become a mecca for hosting conventions. Hah.

These people are so incompetent it is beyond belief. This private developer refused to produce a business plan or share any financial data about its business with Evansville officials. The developer isn't required to share a penny with the city in consideration for its investment. Why should they when the local media in Evansville was clamoring that council members were making the city look like the laughing stock of the Midwest by requesting to see the information and get answers to their questions before voting on it? Yeah, they're the laughing stock of the Midwest. Just not for the reason they're thinking.

I don't know what it takes before taxpayers start taking to the streets and protesting all of this crony capitalism taking place in this state. Time and time again, taxpayers are asked to pay higher taxes only to see our elected officials pass out large subsidies to private developers to finance their development projects in exchange for campaign contributions from the few, well-heeled persons who benefit from these deals. If the legislature doesn't start enacting state laws that put a stop to these ever-increasing public subsidies to private developments, the people of this state are going to become nothing more than slaves working for an elite chosen class which gets to grow and expand their business empires on the backs of the rest of us. This isn't capitalism. This isn't free enterprise. This isn't a representative democracy. This is a dictatorial, fascist government picking who wins and who loses. We have morphed into Nazi Germany.


Btownmoon said...

The source of the city's investment is from casino tax revenues, innkeeper's tax and TIF. The hotel links the existing city-owned Ford Center and county-owned The Centre and allows Evansville to at least compete for conventions. Without the city's investment, a hotel would not be built in this location.

Gary R. Welsh said...

If the hotel could not be built without a massive public subsidy, then it's not a sustainable investment. Indianapolis has played this game for the past four decades. Each new public investment is supposed to be the magical bullet the downtown needs to sustain itself economically. The only thing we've learned after four decades is that one public subsidy begets another and another and another and endless number of takers standing in line waiting for the next handout. Evanville had a larger hotel for years, the Executive Inn, that closed its doors because it couldn't turn a profit. Their convention center lost money even when the Executive Inn was operating at full capacity. Perhaps the casino's hotel offered more competition than the market could withstand.

Flogger said...

Right on the mark Gary. The Hoosier Dome and Circle Center Mall were supposed to stimulate growth, but all we have seen is one Corporate Welfare handout after another. Neither Political Party has a person willing to stand up to this and say NO very loudly.

Unigov said...

"enacting state laws that put a stop to these ever-increasing public subsidies to private developments"

...there already is a state law. The Indiana constitution bans loans, and this arrangement, though not referred to as a "loan", is a loan.

We have a perfectly good constitution, if only we would use it.

Btownmoon said...

Just because the public funds a portion of the up-front cost doesn't mean that the project - $40 million of private investment - is not sustainable. The majority of the public $ are targeted for infrastructure improvements to link the hotel to other public buildings and streetscape improvements.

Indy and Evansville are on different ends of the spectrum regarding public-private investment. Evansville has done nothing and Indy has likely gone too far.

Marycatherine Barton said...

AN EYE FOR AN EYE by John Sack is another startling look at Nazi Germany survivors.