Colts? Stadium Short on Horse Sense

The predominant discussion in the Indianapolis media over the proposed $500 million Colts stadium is how to fund it, not over the wisdom and propriety of taxpayers going into debt to build it.

Apparently the leaders of both major political parties in Indiana have signed off on the concept, including a poor building design, and are content to confine their discussion to who's picking up the tab.

Come hell or high water on White River, Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson has vowed not to lose the 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 the Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs horse tracks. Marion County GOP chairman and state Rep. Michael Murphy has a similar plan that would divide the 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 the stadium with gambling profits.

First, they do not address the issue of stadium obsolescence. Taxpayers cannot afford to again let government build a stadium that the NFL outgrows, especially one that is three-times the real cost of the first one. Proponents should guarantee that the stadium will be valuable for 50 years, or promise to indenture the lives of their children and grandchildren at double the rate of our servitude.

Second, their proposals treat businesses unequally. They subsidize rich millionaires at the expense of smaller or more deserving businesses. Likewise, they treat businesses such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway unfairly by taxing them to underwrite their sports competitor. It's a slap in the face to the 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 the hook for the balance? I'm certainly not.

But here's the real crux. The RCA Dome is perfectly good as it is, except for one basic flaw. No, the flaw is NOT the size of the Dome. Although it is the smallest in the league at 57,900 seats, the Colts barely sell the Dome out even with ticket prices just below the league's average of $54.75.

The problem with the RCA Dome stems from how NFL teams share revenue. Owners keep their revenues from private luxury suites. At the Dome, Colts owner Jim Irsay has 104 suites. The league's most profitable franchise, the Washington Redskins, has 280.

Irsay seeks a stadium with enough suites to give him a shot at a medium profit relative to the rest of the league. He would have already moved his franchise to Los Angeles had that city promised him a stadium with enough suites, which it could not afford to do.

So he and his franchise are leveraging Indianapolis and our state government into building him a stadium by 2008 that merely gives him more profit potential. Ironically, Irsay's best selling point is that he will not also hold the city hostage by making it guarantee that the suites it builds him will be sold. Huh? Until then, the city expects to pay him at least $36 million to keep the Colts in town.

Compare this to the real costs of a new stadium. Its $500 million price tag can triple by the time its bond is paid. For the 400 permanent jobs that the stadium creates and the hundred or so new suites that are created, that amounts to a public investment of over $1 million per job and $3 million per luxury suite. Plus, we will build a stadium with no more capacity than the original Hoosier Dome and, from the looks of the design, one with lousy viewing for NCAA basketball.

That's maddening. Our elected officials are about to build another obsolete stadium with limited capacity, a poor configuration and an exorbitant price tag. They will again saddle us with public debt that is tall on political horseplay and short on horse sense.

©2005 Libertarian Writers Bureau

Attorney, screen writer and former chair of the Libertarian Party of Marion County.

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

New York Times

The Biggest Stories in American Politics This Week
New York Times
James Comey's memos were released, and the war of words between former F.B.I. officials and President Trump continued. Image. James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director.CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times. James B. Comey's redacted, declassified ...
Key lawmakers say Comey's memos show 'terrible' judgment, political biasFox News
James Comey, political animalCNN
Most Shocking Revelations Of The Comey MemosThe Onion (satire)
DocumentCloud
all 1,367 news articles »

The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Blunt Talk
The Atlantic
In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced plans to introduce legislation to decriminalize marijuana on the federal level, saying his thinking on the issue “has evolved.” The Democratic National Committee filed a lawsuit against the ...


CNBC

De-scheduling marijuana is 'excellent politics for President Trump ...
CNBC
Former Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld says it makes a lot of sense for Republicans, like President Donald Trump to support marijuana descheduling.

and more »

New England Public Radio

Week In Politics: Comey's Memos and Additions To Trump's Legal ...
NPR
NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with Kristen Soltis Anderson, of The Washington Examiner and author of "The Selfie Vote", and Jason Johnson, politics editor at The Root, about Former FBI director James Comey, new additions to President Trump's legal team, and ...
Week In Politics: Comey's Memos and Additions To Trump's Legal TeamWOSU

all 1 news articles »

MSNBC

Columbine Survivor: 'We have to bring common sense back into politics'
MSNBC
Student walkouts are happening across the country today in honor of the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine. Kristen Welker speaks with Austin Eubanks, a Columbine survivor, to reflect upon the reaction to school shootings over the last two ...


ABC News

Pot politics: Schumer joins politicians rethinking marijuana
ABC News
The top Senate Democrat is using marijuana's informal holiday to announce a change of heart about the drug, another sign of the growing political acceptance of pot. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said Friday he'll introduce a bill ...
DEA / Drug SchedulingDEA
VICE News on Twitter: "BREAKING: Senator Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) changes position and says he will ...Twitter
Sen. Chuck Schumer to introduce bill to “decriminalize” marijuanaVICE News
New York Post -Medium
all 153 news articles »

Los Angeles Times

See Team Politics at the Festival of Books this weekend
Los Angeles Times
For anyone interested in politics, this weekend's L.A. Times Festival of Books at USC will be the place for you. It's a great event — the biggest book festival in the country and a showcase for ideas and literature in California. Members of the Times ...


Brookings Institution (blog)

All politics is local—in Libya, that could be an opportunity
Brookings Institution (blog)
At a high level, serious consideration ought to be given to a federal system in Libya. While I've long advocated for this option, facts on the ground have altered what I think is achievable at this stage: Now, a focus on decentralizing authority to the ...

and more »

NPR

This Week In Politics: US-North Korea Relations
NPR
President Trump tweeted the North Korean news that it was suspending nuclear tests was "big progress." Agreeing to meet with Kim Jong Un was a gamble for Trump, but so far it seems to be paying off. Facebook; Twitter; Flipboard; Email. Subscribe to the ...


The Onion (satire)

'Politics Was Never This Toxic In The 2010s,' Says Future American While Watching Candidates Battle In 2048 Debate ...
The Onion (satire)
NEO-SEATTLE—Decrying the lack of decorum on display, an American from decades in the future remarked that politics was never this toxic “back in the 2010s,” shaking his head as he watched the leading presidential candidates of 2048 fight to the death ...

Google News

China: Tibet Standoff

The People's Liberation Army of China invaded Tibet in 1949.... Read More

Take Marijuana Off the DEAs Docket

Quit paying the DEA to chase marijuana. We could save... Read More

5 Years in Prison for Satirical Flash Films About the President of Belarus

They do not allow the criticism of the president in... Read More

CBM?s Indo-Pak Peace Process

Will a bus running across the borders bring cordial relations... Read More

Federal Trade Commission and Dismal Performance on Mergers

Most citizens agree that we need the Federal Trade Commission... Read More

Paid Assassins

The civil war in Iraq seems to be much more... Read More

Is America Bankrupt?

The US Dollar has been falling continuously in last year.... Read More

Is The Bill Of Rights Necessary?

The Bill of Rights to our Constitution caused -- and... Read More

World Power Brokers Readying for WWIII

Einstein when ask how did he believe WWIII would be... Read More

Hypocrisy of Over Regulation

All to often law makers and regulators create rules and... Read More

The Federal Trade Commission, reality check

Federal Trade Commission Owes Industry and Entrepreneurs an Apology. The... Read More

Bird Flu may kill you and your family

We have heard a lot about the coming bird flu... Read More

Sodomy

Sodomy is against the law, yet goes on every day... Read More

Companies, Consumer and Cost of Fuel

Which companies are most affected by fuel? Who really bears... Read More

Bush and Kerry Differ on Immigration Policies

Up until the final debate at Arizona State University, the... Read More

NAFTA; What did we learn?

A quick look back at NAFTA; how did we do?Stabilizing... Read More

Birth of a Nation

When you see hooded Klansmen walking up Pennsylvania Avenue to... Read More

George Bush--A New World Order

When this president's father was in the Oval Office, he... Read More

Voting Pro-Environment is Good For Jobs, Health, and Security

There are many issues on the minds of US voters... Read More

Failure to Supervise at the Federal Trade Commission

Many MLM sales people mean well but they inadvertently commit... Read More

Medicade Scam; Worse than You Think

You are not going to believe what is going on... Read More

Homeless, Trash, Drugs and Transient Issues

In Police Magazine I read a great article about transient... Read More

Banana Republic - United Kingdom

The recent scathing remarks by High Court Judge Richard Mawrey... Read More

UAV Decoy Stategies, Theories and The Modern Art of War

Well having studying the need for decreasing America's dependence on... Read More

How Can We Elect Good Leaders?

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Men desire power. Give power to... Read More