Monday, December 13, 2010

More Lies From The CIB

Once again, the CIB lied to the City-County Council and the public to extract more of our tax dollars for their budget. CIB President Ann Lathrop, a former city controller, is now saying the CIB is magically running ahead of budget by $12 million despite its claimed urgency earlier this year in having $8 million a year diverted from a downtown TIF district it said was critically necessary to continue funding of the ICVA. Everyone with any common sense knew the real reason for the diversion of property tax revenues to the CIB was to help fund the 3-year, $33.5 million give-away to billionaire Herb Simon and his Indiana Pacers. Now it turns out the CIB's budget this year is running $12 million ahead of where it told the City-County Council it stood when it insisted it needed the $8 million diversion from the downtown TIF district. The IBJ's Scott Olson reports:

The Capital Improvement Board of Marion County is running $12 million ahead of budget, due in large part to higher revenue and fewer expenses than members expected.

Through the first nine months of the year, the most recent budget numbers available, CIB posted $67 million in total revenue—$6.5 million more than budgeted—and trimmed $5.8 million in expenses.

A large chunk of the revenue, $4 million, is part of $8 million CIB received from the city to use toward the $10 million it will provide the Indiana Pacers to help operate Conseco Fieldhouse. Overall, CIB will give the team $30 million over the next three years.

Still, CIB President Ann Lathrop is satisfied with the agency’s financial situation, particularly since it spent most of last year wrestling with a $47 million budget deficit. CIB will meet for the last time this year at 3 p.m. Monday in the Indiana Convention Center board room.

“I think our revenues are trending higher,” she said. “Even if you take out the $4 million, we’re still trending ahead.”
If you back out the $4 million the MDC already transferred to the CIB from a downtown TIF district to fund the ICVA, that still puts the CIB's budget $8 million ahead, which is the exact amount it requested for the ICVA. According to Olson's story, the CIB collected about $1 million more in food and beverage taxes than it budgeted, and it received $1.3 million more than it budgeted from the expanded Professional Sports Development Area, which was part of a combination of tax diversions, tax increases and borrowing the CIB incurred to avert what it claimed was "a going concern problem" just last year. Olson also reports county admissions tax revenues were close to $1 million more than the CIB had anticipated. So the CIB underestimated its revenues by more than $3 million. Does anyone believe that was not intentional?

I don't know how many times the City-County Council will allow the corrupt leadership of the CIB to pull the wool over its eyes to extract more of our tax dollars before it finally says enough is enough. The CIB's total budget for next year, which the council has already approved, is $104.4 million, an 11% increase over this year's budget. Olson says the CIB thinks hotel and food and beverage tax receipts could climb 3% to 6% next year because of the additional business the CIB anticipates from an expanded convention center. The CIB continues to heavily subsidize out-of-town conventioneers in order to lure business to the city. "The downside is that CIB can’t bill a convention for the use of extra help, which shows up in its budget as an $863,878 shortfall through September in labor reimbursements," Olson writes. “There are still extreme price pressures out there to make the city competitive [to host a convention],” Lathrop said. “There’s just a lot of deal-making going on right now.”


Had Enough Indy? said...

So much for transparency. The MDC should cancel that interlocal agreement, especially since the CIB obviously doesn't really need the money.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

"The CIB continues to heavily subsidize out-of-town conventioneers in order to lure business to the city."
So, by that you mean that the CIB pays the Convention Center, hotels, or restaurants, or somebody a chunk of our money in order to lower what the convention has to pay to come here?
Is that criminal? Or is lying just becoming the norm in Marion County. Now the republicans are just as big of liars as the democrats always were.

Downtown Indy said...

A lot of SHADY deal-making going on, Ann.

Downtown Indy said...

And I thought the enlargement of the convention center, coupled with the shiny new hotel rooms across the street is what was supposed to entice conventions to come here.

artfuggins said...

Something else we have to thank Jackie Nytes for......

Jeff said...


The CIB freely admits that it subsidizes conventions. I was watching a TV recording of one of its meetings and heard Pat Early say just that when he was still on its board.

Citizen Kane said...

Not that it is hard to pull the wool over the council's eyes, but I don't think that most council members want to find reasons to fund the CIB anytime they come begging for money.