©2005 Libertarian Writers' Bureau
The predominant discussion in Indianapolis media over proposed $500 million Colts stadium is how to fund it, not over wisdom and propriety of taxpayers going into debt to build it.
Apparently leaders of both major political parties in Indiana have signed off on concept, including a poor building design, and are content to confine their discussion to whoís picking up tab.
Come hell or high water on White River, Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson has vowed not to lose Colts during his administration. His plan in part is to raise $13 million annually through higher car rental, innkeeper and admissions taxes in Marion County, as well as with annual gambling profits of $46 million from 2,500 pull-tab gambling machines in downtown Indianapolis.
Regional Republicans have their own plans to fund a new stadium. Rep. Luke Messer of Shelbyville proposes giving Indianapolis $30 million in annual revenue from 2,500 slot machines at Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs horse tracks. Marion County GOP chairman and state Rep. Michael Murphy has a similar plan that would divide slot machine profits differently, giving Indianapolis $48 million annually.
Here are three problems with these major party proposals, besides any issues that readers might have over funding stadium with gambling profits.
First, they do not address issue of stadium obsolescence. Taxpayers cannot afford to again let government build a stadium that NFL outgrows, especially one that is three-times real cost of first one. Proponents should guarantee that stadium will be valuable for 50 years, or promise to indenture lives of their children and grandchildren at double rate of our servitude.
Second, their proposals treat businesses unequally. They subsidize rich millionaires at expense of smaller or more deserving businesses. Likewise, they treat businesses such as Indianapolis Motor Speedway unfairly by taxing them to underwrite their sports competitor. Itís a slap in face to Speedway, which funds itself.
And why should we indenture each Indianapolis citizens with more than $1,000 in debt for eight regular-season football games each year? If gambling revenue projections are not met, are residents of Indianapolis willing to be on hook for balance? Iím certainly not.