Simons and Irsays have received enough

March 30, 2009
[In response to the editorial and Bill Benner’s column on March 23,] a reality check is sorely needed on the Simons’ bailout request for their Pacers. How could the team be a 10-year money loser and they forgot to mention it?

Enough is enough. Taxpayers are in no mood to hand over additional subsidies to our two for-profit sports teams. This is the local version of the American International Group and General Motors bailout mess.

We just increased taxes on prepared food, rental cars and hotels two years ago to fund the largesse of the already heavily subsidized hospitality industry.

Reality check No. 2: This industry offers low-paying, unskilled jobs and is highly subject to the cyclical vagaries of the economy.

If we must throw public money at something again via increased sales taxes, how about subsidies to grow truly high-skilled, high-wage industries like life sciences, renewable energy, clean-coal research, railcar repair or agribusiness research?

No new taxes, please, for the for-profit sports team nor the hospitality industry, please! The Simons and Irsays have already received too much. And no, the world will not end if the “bad-boy” Pacers depart for more subsidy-friendly venues.

Let’s take a page from Seattle playbook. They voted twice not to fund a new stadium for the Sonics (which eventually left for Oklahoma). Last time I checked, it had no effect on the Puget Sound region, albeit saving local taxpayers millions.

As we have learned from the Troubled Asset Relief Program and AIG mess, government does a poor job of picking industry winners and losers in a free-market economy. And who knew the Pacers were a 10-year money loser?


Bill Malcolm
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