Cotterill wants the state to establish an "event incentive fund" that would make millions of state tax dollars available in the form of a grant every year that the CIB and Visit Indy could tap to offer incentives to lure even more conventions to Indianapolis. Texas has such a fund so it must be a good idea according to Cotterill. In addition, Cotterill says the convention center needs to be expanded again for the umpteenth time to keep up with the Joneses. Current occupancy is running at about 65%, but that's supposedly a high occupancy rate by industry standards. Cotterill says the plans already exist for an expansion of the convention center, which is interesting because during a recent meeting of the CIB, the municipal corporation's CEO, Barney Levengood, claimed there were no current plans for expanding the convention center. Cotterill thinks the state should provide an extra $20 million to the CIB for convention center expansion by making a one-time bump in the annual subsidy the state provides to the CIB. "That's a rounding error to a state budget surplus of $2 billion, but we don't have to dip into the state's reserves."
Here's what I think of Cotterill's snot-nosed idea.
Here's some additional trivia about the salaries earned by Visit Indy's top executives according to their 2012 tax return:
Leonard Hoops, CEO (Salary-$422,000, Bonus-$55,000)--$477,000
Susan Townsend, Sr. VP, Visitor Experience (Salary-$153,000, Bonus-$28,600)--$181,600
Michelle Travis, Sr. VP, Sales (Salary-$263,000, Bonus-$42,000)--$305,000
James Wallis, Executive VP (Salary-$223,000, Bonus-$42,000)--$265,000
Matthew Carter, VP, Market Intelligence (Salary-$154,000, Bonus-$37,000)--$191,000
Dustin Arnheim, Director, Convention Sales (Salary-$138,000, Bonus-$34,000)--$172,000
Janet Arnold, VP, Partner Relationships (Salary-$173,000, Bonus-$33,000)--$206,000
Christopher Gahl, VP, Marketing/Communications (Salary-$117,000, Bonus-$32,000)--$149,000
Mary Huggard, VP, Tourism Development (Salary-$129,000, Bonus-$21,000--$150,000
Keep in mind that this doesn't include their lavish travel and entertainment allowance. If you saw how much these people get to spend eating out at the best restaurants and staying at luxury hotels all over this country, in addition to the special events entertaining they get to do with our tax dollars, you would be appalled. Their board members are entangled in conflicts of interest. Visit Indy spend tens of thousand entertaining at Pacers' games. Of course, Pacers Sports & Entertainment's President, Jim Morris, also serves on their board. They spend over $120,000 a year at the IMS at the same time the IMS' then-President Jeff Belskus served on their board. They spent another $70,000 on Maribeth Smith & Associates where another board member works, Ellen Saul. They've got at least a $15 million budget, more than a third of which is spent on entertainment-travel related expenses.