The drug-free version of Star political columnist Matt Tully is back again this year with another column endorsing Esral Ozdemir's plan to make Indiana taxpayers contribute the entire cost of constructing an $83 million soccer stadium for his Indy Eleven minor league team. While Tully blames painkillers he was taking at the time he enthusiastically endorsed last year's stadium financing proposal, the drug-free Tully thinks no more clearly than the fogged brain version. He's still doing nothing more than regurgitating the talking points of Ozdemir's talking head liars.
The first lie is that even though debt service on the stadium will be paid out of state tax revenues, we're to believe that taxpayers aren't really paying for the stadium. Ozdemir wants to piggyback on the existing professional sports development area that encompasses a chunk of downtown Indianapolis already to include an expanded area that will include some unknown site downtown where the new stadium would be built.
We're told that whatever income, sales and admission taxes are generated from the soccer team will cover the debt service on the bonds, which is laughable. The Indy Eleven organization is still lying about having sold out every home game this past season, and the media doesn't seem inclined to report the fact that many tickets were given away to those games to induce higher attendance, Presumably, the team can't keep that practice up indefinitely, and we're to take their word they can fill up a stadium nearly twice the size of Carroll Stadium. Minor league soccer players are paid slave wages so we know the team's roster is contributing next to nothing in income taxes, and the franchise, even if it approaches the Indianapolis Indians success after a century of operating, would generate very little in tax revenues.
But Tully says this brand new stadium will be built on a 10-acre site that generates little, if any tax revenues currently. If it's a prime piece of downtown property, which the Indy Eleven claims it must have in order to be successful, then the property is not generating little if any property tax revenues, If the Indy Eleven's soccer stadium is built on that land, however, it's a certainty that it won't generate any property tax revenues because their plan calls for the stadium to be owned, operated and maintained by our Capital Improvement Board, which contributes no property tax revenues for the valuable properties it owns downtown, including Lucas Oil Stadium, Banker's Life Fieldhouse, Victory Field and the Indiana Convention Center, along with several prime parking lots, all of which are tax-exempt properties.
So contrary to Tully's claim, yes, we are taking tax dollars away from schools, parks, police and everything else because both state and local tax dollars are being diverted to finance this boondoggle, and no new revenues will be generated to pay for the additional policing, traffic and other burdens yet another sports stadium will impose on local government. "We have to view this as a business, as an economic generator," said Paul Okeson, an executive at Indy Eleven founder Ersal Ozdemir's firm. "Because that's what it is." Well, that works both ways, Mr. Tully. This is yet another raw deal for taxpayers any which way you choose to package it. Tully confirms that point in his next sentence when he concedes the stadium isn't going to happen if we expect the private sector to build a new soccer arena without public funding.
Finally, Tully makes this phony claim that, even if their financial numbers don't add up, then there's a backstop to protect taxpayers because bond buyers won't purchase the bonds sold to construct the stadium. Au contraire. The bonds will be issued by the Capital Improvement Board based on the expanded PSDA, which the state already ensures pours a steady stream of revenues in to the CIB's pockets to pay for these costly sports palaces. The bond buyers aren't making their decision to invest based on Indy Eleven's performance; rather, they are looking at the financial picture of the CIB, which our state and local government has made sure always has plentiful revenues to operate and expand, even if it pleads poverty all the time when it comes to paying for basic government services. The gullibility of Tully to even proffer that argument proves the man is unfit to write columns for a major daily newspaper on drugs or not.
One would think that Ozdemir's brand new soccer team was being forced to play in some run-down, out-of-the way high school soccer field currently. It's not. It's playing at a more than adequate Carroll Stadium right smack in the middle of IUPUI's downtown campus with ample parking, streets, sidewalks and parking to support it. Louisville is retrofitting its minor league baseball stadium to allow its dual use as a soccer stadium. Lucas Oil Stadium sits unused most of the year despite its three-quarters of a billion dollar cost, but the team has no interest in renting space there either. Enough is enough. There is absolutely no justifiable reason for the public to be forced to finance a new stadium for this shadowy figure whose source of funding is a bit of a mystery given how broke he was about a decade ago. Unfortunately, he's figured out how non-discerning our crooked politicians are when it comes to taking money from shadowy people.
Gary, is the CIB planning to float GO or revenue bonds for this? Not that I think it's a good idea either way, just curious.
Like all employees you are expected to produce what the Boss wants. The Goals of the Company reverberates on down. Your immediate Boss will provide you with the job expectations and goals. The Star obviously wants another Stadium built (the expectation). Tully's job is to fulfill that Job Expectation. Tully's job as a columnist is quite clearly not to question very hard or at all the bogus claims by the Soccer Team or it's supporters.
The bottom line is The Star has been a front line cheerleader for Corporate Welfare and Crony-Capitalism for several decades. The Star will not allow cold hard logic or economic science to interfere with their version of the Sun revolves around the Earth.
The CIB hasn't agreed to do anything yet so I can't really say other than they would be the entity that issues the bonds--presumably pledging their very healthy revenue stream from a variety of tax sources.
Tully's column is so full of misstatements and false analogies that I don't know where to begin in criticizing it. The man has no credibility, but it was shot long before this latest load of crap he shoveled our way.
Matt Tully is typical of liberals who actually believe themselves to be intellectually, culturally, and morally superior to the unwashed masses who actually labor to produce wealth. And now we learn a component of the Tully problem... self-medication.
If Tully's column- like Swarens' printed proclamations- carry a scintilla of weight with a thinking public, I'd be surprised.
But then again, critical thinking passed from fashion long ago...
So is this going to be a mosque for Erdogan or Gulen?
First, I am against giving tax money to a foreign rich guy. Let him use his own money to build a stadium if he wants one.
How much revenue do we take in from the Cricket field that cost taxpayers???
There is no reason to think that there would be sufficient revenue from his soccer team to pay the bills.
Stop the liberal TAX AND SPEND mentality and become fiscally responsible government officials.
Are you sure that Tully is drug-free?
Tully stopped checking facts years ago. Details and facts are meaningless to him. He only cares how something on the surface looks good or if it sounds good. He completely lacks substance.
Tully, yet one more reason not to subscribe. It amazes me of the lemmings who follow blindly.
Tully tries to write from the viewpoint of a neutral, objective, greater good kind of position, and I'll admit he's good at it. This better positions him in the eyes of his followers to swat down arguments of the mal-contents.
I think you're right, Flogger, Tully is doing what he's told. I also think he's got skin in the game beyond gainful employment... Read Gary's prior posts on Tully's conflicts of interest. A truly objective mind starts to wonder why this columnist's views are always in support of the administration's efforts, especially where there's a lot of taxpayer money on the line.
You can see where the elitist machine is starting to shift its arguments to defeat or cloud those pesky and valid concerns surrounding this project. Most notable among those concerns is the skewed attendance numbers and anticipated tax revenue that it is expected to generate. The numbers reported by the team and regurgitated by the media are completely unrealistic. Now they're noting additional revenue sources that are a lot more difficult to estimate - food and drink sales, income taxes, etc. Drown out the argument with more unverifiable info.
There's an attempt to shift the conversation towards economic development downtown. You know the drill - "grow the tax base", "create jobs"...
The argument that this won't take away scarce tax money from police, schools and libraries is nonsense. Where do you think the rest of the money not generated by ticket taxes will come from?
Then Tully writes about nobody buying the bonds if the numbers really don't add up - essentially he's saying "TRUST US". This is garbage. Bond marketability is a function of the borrower's ability to pay. At the end of the day any GO or revenue bonds will be backed by Indiana tax dollars and traders know the state isn't going to walk away from any one obligation and pay higher rates elsewhere as a consequence. Taxes in Indiana are relatively low and so is debt service - so we have ample ability to pay more in taxes when ticket tax revenue numbers don't pan out - that's why the bonds will sell.
And Carroll Stadium won't be able to accommodate the team's future growth? Give me a break, there were gobs of empty seats for their games. Never mind the fact that established major league soccer teams in much larger cities don't have attendance numbers that could fill Carroll Stadium.
Hey Matt Tully, care to explain why Louisville's new soccer team is okay with sharing a minor league baseball stadium for a city contribution of only 500k? How about explaining why Lucas Oil Stadium isn't good enough for the Eleven or its future growth plans?
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