Council OKs tax hikes on tickets, car rentals

January 28, 2013

The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday night approved tax hikes to admissions to downtown events and on rental cars.

The admissions tax, which would rise from 6 percent to 10 percent March 1 if approved by Mayor Greg Ballard, is levied on events at Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Victory Field and the Indiana Convention Center. The tax doesn't apply to not-for-profit events.

The county tax on rental cars would rise from 4 percent to 6 percent. Combined with state rental and sales taxes, the total tax on rental cars would be 17 percent.

The council approved both hikes by a vote of 16-12.

“Tonight, in a bipartisan fashion, members of the City-County Council made difficult but necessary votes to strengthen the fiscal position of our city," Ballard said in a prepared statement. "I want to praise the leadership of both parties for reaching a long-term budget deal that cuts spending and provides the necessary revenue to maintain the City’s vital amenities and services.”  

The ticket tax hike was opposed by Indianapolis Colts executives, who say the higher ticket prices could turn off fans and lead to possible TV blackouts of Colts home games.

The car-rental industry also opposed a tax increase, arguing that the tax affects local residents as much as out-of-towners.

That tax hikes are projected to generate $6.7 million for the city’s general fund this year. In the future, most of the money will flow to the Capital Improvement Board, which operates the sports venues and Indiana Convention Center.

CIB officials have said they need the extra revenue to cover future operating expenses, including building maintenance and upgrades, though the CIB hasn’t laid out specific plans.

The money that flows to city coffers will reduce a $47 million structural deficit.


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