Not everyone sees the deal with the Indiana Pacers as a win.
State Rep. Scott Reske, D-Pendleton, believes the Capital Improvement Board’s $33 million deal could mean a case of deja vu for Indiana lawmakers.
“The city of Indianapolis has pledged $33 million that they don’t have. I’ve been around long enough to know they’re going to show up at the state legislature wanting funding,” Reske said Monday.
Last year, the CIB approached state lawmakers asking for a bailout as it faced a $47 million deficit.
The bailout never made it past initial committee hearings, but the state did give the CIB a $27 million emergency loan to stay afloat amidst threats by CIB officials that Lucas Oil Stadium would be closed without state assistance.
The CIB initially wanted lawmakers to increase food and beverage taxes statewide in order to bail out the board.
When that failed, the CIB tried to expand food and beverage taxes for the local stadium and convention center to “donut” counties surrounding Indianapolis, including Madison County, Reske said.
“First they tried to go statewide, then they tried to get Madison County and other counties. Madison county lawmakers stopped that,” he said.
Reske said the $27 million emergency loan was the work of Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels and the Republican-controlled state Senate working to help Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, also a Republican.
Now that the CIB has reached a $33 million deal with the Pacers, Reske fears the board will once again come to lawmakers for a bailout.
“We may have to relive the whole scenario all over again and just like before, we’ll stop it again,” Reske said.
Reske said the CIB’s problems are Indianapolis problems, and won’t be solved on the backs of Madison County taxpayers.
“If they think Madison County taxpayers are going to bail them out, they’re wrong. As long as I represent this district, Madison County won’t pay for the mismanagement in Indianapolis,” he said.
Contact Brandi Watters, 640-4847, email@example.com