Abdul At Large
As you know, I am one the last people who should ever talk about anything sports related, unless it has something to do with Indiana government and politics, and then it’s game on (pardon the expression).
I bring this up because the recent kneeling during the National Anthem controversy has the potential to go to a very short-sighted and dangerous level here in Indiana. Because of the players taking a knee, some state and county lawmakers want to repeal the tax that helps pay for Lucas Oil Stadium. They don’t think the taxpayers should help pay for people who, in their opinion, disrespect America and the troops.
Here’s the problem with that we are told These folks forget the taxes that pay for Lucas Oil also pay for the Convention Center; it is a dedicated revenue stream. According to the most recent Capital Improvement Board annual report, that amount totals more than $62 million, $26 million comes from the Marion County food and beverage tax and another $5 million from the regional food and beverage tax.
If that goes away, then the state would have to foot the bill from the general revenue fund so instead and Marion and the donut counties footing the bill, Hoosiers in Ft. Wayne, Richmond, Bloomington, New Albany, Evansville, Terre Haute, Covington, Gary, Anderson, Kokomo, Marion, Muncie, South Bend and Rochester, just to name a few, will have to pick up the tab and the state will have to take money from other sources to pay the bonds.
By the way, if you really want to throw Indiana’s Triple A credit rating in the tank, start messing around with the stadium/convention center’s financing structure. If you don’t believe us, we take you back to the days of RFRA when it looked like Indiana was going to lose a lot of tourism business. That freaked out the bond houses that floated the loans for the stadium/convention center debt because if tourism dropped then the state and city were going to have a hard time paying off the debt and that was going to cause nothing but financial headaches.
And for the folks who live in the donut counties, it’s important to remember their local governments keep half (if my memory serves me correctly) of the food and beverage tax that’s levied. That tax has been around for nearly a decade and is used to pay for local services, so unless they’re ready to blow giant holes in their budgets, they may want to think about finding another way to protest the NFL. I suggest taking a knee or maybe turning off the TV on Sunday and spending time with your families.
Just a thought.
Photo: Grant Halverson / Stringer / Getty Images.