Sunday, October 20, 2013

IEDC Withholding Information About The Size Of Its Taxpayer Kickback To The Pacers

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation is too embarrassed to reveal publicly just how much it is paying billionaire Herb Simon's Indiana Pacers to put a stupid, meaningless logo on the basketball court at Banker's Life Fieldhouse, which broadcasters may or may not allow to be shown during national broadcasts of the Pacers games. It is believed the IEDC is paying several million dollars to the Pacers to have an idiotic slogan, "A State That Works," painted on the court's sideline under a two-year deal, but the state-funded agency isn't revealing the true number because it tells the Courier-Journal's Lesley Weidenbener that it doesn't even have a signed contract with the Pacers.
When asked how much the deal is worth or how much the state is paying, an IEDC spokeswoman said this in an email:
“Since this is a mutually beneficial partnership, the Pacers offered a custom, comprehensive package to the IEDC well below market value. Releasing the exact amount of the package could hinder the ongoing advertising negotiations of both the Pacers and NBA.”
In other words, it’s not good for the Pacers to reveal how much — or how little — the state paid for the sponsorship, which includes the words “A State that Works” along the court’s out-of-bounds lines.
As Weidenbener goes on to explain in her story, the agency can't withhold from the public how much it is spending on the advertising deal without a legal reason. The only reason the IEDC can offer at this point is that it has not yet finalized a written contract with the Pacers. The Secretary of Commerce Vic Smith claims the amount that will be spent annually is within the agency's $1.3 million marketing budget, which would indicate that virtually all of its budget is being spent on this one advertising item--unless the earlier reports pegging the size of the deal in the low seven-figure range was simply made-up as a scheme to trick other would-be advertisers into paying a similar amount for advertising deals. The agency recently announced that it was spending about $65,000 on a 15-second spot that runs on a large CBS-owned TV screen in Times Square marketing the state's business climate to New York visitors.

Perhaps one of the dumbest quotes I've ever heard is this one from a spokesperson for the agency: “The Pacers represent the embodiment of a ‘made-not-bought’ success story,” the spokeswoman told me. “This compelling story mirrors the state of Indiana’s legacy of hard work and determination that serves as the bedrock supporting our strong fiscal condition, balanced budget and regulatory freedom." Nothing could be further from the truth. The business demands public subsides in the tens of millions of dollars annually, in addition to a state-of-state art rent-free facility in which to conduct its business. That's nothing like how businesses operate in the real world, Indiana or elsewhere.


Anonymous said...

I think they ought to pay to put their IEDC slogan on the sides of every garbage truck in Indiana.

Anonymous said...

if the price is below market value, then I'd rather the Pacers sold the ad space at market value, requiring them to seek less from state coffers.