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Mahern wants council members to disclose free game tix

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The Indianapolis City-County Council is poised to approve a huge increase in ticket taxes on professional sports, and one council member wants to make sure those voting on the hike disclose the freebies they get for Pacers and Colts games.

Democratic Councilor Brian Mahern has filed a proposal that would require council members to disclose gifts received from government entities, including municipal corporations. The proposal is aimed squarely at the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County, which operates Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium, and which receives revenue from the ticket tax. 

Council members including President Maggie Lewis, who is also a CIB director, readily admit that they've received free tickets, Mahern noted. “I’m not casting aspersions,” he said. “I believe there should be greater transparency in the reporting of gifts, period.”

The council will vote Monday night on the ticket-tax increase, as well as a hike in the car-rental tax. The tax on sports tickets and tickets for other for-profit events would go from 6 percent to 10 percent, a 67-percent jump. The local tax on car rentals would increase to 6 percent from 4 percent. Combined with 4-percent state rental tax and the 7-percent state sales tax, Marion County car-rental customers would pay a combined 17-percent tax after the increase.

Approval of the tax increases is likely because they're tied to a budget compromise with Mayor Greg Ballard.

Under the compromise, extra revenue in the first year, an estimated $6.7 million, will flow to the city's general fund, and the city will receive up to $3 million a year in the future.

Mahern’s proposal will be introduced Monday night and referred to the Ethics Committee.

The current ethics law requires council members to list on their annual ethics disclosures the people and firms from whom they received single gifts worth at least $100 and multiple gifts totaling $250 or more.

Mahern’s proposal expands that disclosure from people and firms doing business with the city or trying to influence the council to government entities. The proposal also adds gifts going to council members’ spouses and dependent children and requires the value of the gifts to be listed.

Also Monday, the council is set to vote on a new tax-increment finance district called North Midtown. The most controversial aspect of the new TIF district is that it will include a new Broad Ripple parking garage-retail development, for which the city donated $6.5 million in meter revenue. The garage, still under construction, is integrated with Keystone Construction Corp.’s mixed-use development.

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  • Report everything
    There's no reason any freebies should be exempted from reporting. Better yet, there's no reason these elected officials should be getting freebies, period.
  • County Line Road Rentals
    I've always found it better to rent my car in Greenwood or north of 116th Street that way you don't pay the extra tax period.
  • ethics disclosures
    I would be in favor of disclosing any gifts received, no matter how small in value. Why would anyone be giving any type of gift to any politician, if they weren't eventually going to be expecting something in return? As far as the car rental tax, we recently rented a car for eight days; the car rental tax (before this proposed increase) was more than a single days rental! We've always found it more economical, in the long run, to use rentals for our vacations. This tax increase could be the tipping point in that argument; not good for us, not good for the car rental companies, and a net loss in tax revenue from our pockets. (Instead of paying the increased tax, we will pay no tax!)

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  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

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