Mayor set to outline his CIB proposal-WEB ONLY

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Mayor Greg Ballard will announce his proposals to resolve the Capital Improvement Board’s financial problems at its monthly meeting this afternoon.

The mayor will endorse some of the solutions favored by state legislators as well as introduce his own recommendations, Robert Vane, spokesman for the mayor, told IBJ this morning.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) said last week he likely would drop his proposal to double Indiana’s alcohol tax statewide to help fund the CIB. The agency operates the major Indianapolis sports stadiums and the Indiana Convention Center.

The alcohol tax drew sharp criticism and little support. Other elements of Kenley’s plan include raising the ticket tax on events at the stadiums and increasing the city’s hotel and food-and-beverage taxes.

Perhaps the most controversial idea being bandied about in the Legislature is one from Rep. Bill Crawford (D-Indianapolis). He told The Indianapolis Star he would introduce a plan that would authorize a downtown Indianapolis casino with 1,500 slot machines. He estimated the casino would raise about $20.5 million annually for the CIB.

Ballard has said he considered raising food-and-beverage taxes distasteful, but hasn’t spoken out one way or another about other aspects of funding plans because they are still in flux.

“He hasn’t ruled anything out other than income taxes or property taxes,” Vane told the Associated Press last week. “The situation’s simply too critical. We have to be open minded.”

The CIB faces a projected $47 million shortfall next year.

Kenley’s proposal includes tapping other funding sources, including $5 million a year each from the Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Neither team has agreed to pay that amount yet, although officials from both franchises said Kenley’s proposal was a starting point in discussions.

Today’s CIB meeting starts at 2 p.m. in Room 110 of the Indiana Convention Center.

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