Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Reporter Questions Timing of Legislative Resolution Celebrating Indiana Motorsports Day

State House reporter Dan Carden has a story questioning the timing of a legislative resolution honoring Indiana Motorsports Day, which brought proceedings to a halt while lawmakers in the House and Senate welcomed representatives of several IndyCar race teams and paid homage to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The legislature has pending before it a proposal to divert up to $100 million in state tax revenue to fund improvement for the privately-owned Indianapolis Motor Speedway--an act clearly forbidden by the state's constitution, but Indiana lawmakers have never let anything as pesky as a constitution get in their way when they've been bought off to do something. Carden notes the IMS doled at more than $100,000 in campaign contributions over the past couple of years prior to the introduction of the legislation.
Amid their ongoing debate over whether to give $100 million in state tax revenue to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a private company, the Indiana House and Senate halted their normal work Tuesday to celebrate "Indiana Motorsports Day."
Four Indiana-based racing teams, almost certain to benefit from facilities upgrades at the speedway, were honored by lawmakers in both chambers who praised their contributions to the state's economy.
Representatives of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Vance and Hines Motorsports, Andretti Autosports and Don Schumacher Racing in turn thanked lawmakers for helping make Indiana "the motorsports capital of the world" and said they were confident the Legislature always will support their industry . . .
Lawmakers who voted for or support the measure deny any connection between the more than $100,000 in campaign contributions dished out by the speedway since 2011, and the sudden desire by lawmakers to shovel state funds to a private company that has operated without a state subsidy or bailout for more than 100 years.
As for Tuesday's celebration of the state's motorsports industry, even House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, admitted the timing was "interesting."
Though Bosma pointed out the House once honored former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning even as it was debating whether to build a new Indianapolis football stadium.
"I don't see anything inappropriate about it, and I don't think it's going to swing anybody's vote on an issue that comes here," Bosma said. "We honor lots of folks for lots of things."
State Rep. Chuck Moseley, D-Portage, disagreed. He said Tuesday's ceremony was "a very inappropriate and untimely thing to do." . . .
As the infamous Indiana KKK leader D.C. Stephenson often quipped, the Indiana legislature is the best legislature money can buy.

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