Mayor Ballard has once again showed his contempt for Marion County taxpayers and willingness to divert taxpayer money away from parks, libraries and other needed government functions to give to corporate entities, in this occasion, the billionaire Simons, the owners of the Pacers.
That's from Paul K. Ogden's blog this morning.
This Indianapolis Observer is speechless. $33.5 million!
To quote Gary R. Welsh's blog, Advance Indiana:
Yes, while the City's park's department is being slashed, pools are being closed, library branches are being threatened with closure and hours of operation are being cut for those that remain open, Ballard thinks the taxpayers can afford to give tens of millions more to one of the state's wealthiest men...while average people suffer through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
The Indianapolis Business Journal quotes a skeptical Mark Rosentraub, a sports economist and former dean at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.
“I’m not sure how you can operate in one of the nicest facilities in the league essentially rent free, and be so far in the red,” Rosentraub said Monday morning.
Rosentraub also pointed out that eight of those 11 years were during relatively economic robust times.
“If the CIB is so convinced in the accuracy of those figures, which happened during some very robust times for the city and the state, you’d have to ask, 'Is the conclusion that the Pacers can’t be operated profitably in this city?' If that’s the case, what could possibly change in two to three years to turn this thing around, or are we looking at a long-term situation of paying to keep the Pacers here?”
While Rosentraub said he thinks the Pacers and Conseco Fieldhouse are important components to a vital downtown, he said the CIB and Pacers should put all the financial cards on the table.
“The CIB is a public agency,” Rosentraub said. “If these numbers are real, what’s the hesitancy?”
IMHO, whatever goodwill Ballard is attempting to garner via the utilities transfer / loan shell game, he has squandered on...a sports team's owners? Is he buying a job for himself after the next election?
As a closing note: check out the feature on Boston's Fenway Park in the Wall Street Journal: "the next time a sports franchise goes begging for taxpayer funding for a new stadium, politicians should have the guts to tell them 'pay for it yourself.' The Red Sox did, and increased their revenue and market value along the way." Too bad Indy just keeps shoveling money toward the billionaire sports team owners!