Monday, May 04, 2009

CIB Suspends Arts and Tourism Budget

CIB (Capital Improvement Board) voted last week to suspend, kill, squash, withdraw  funding to the arts and tourism budget. Read more of the details in this Indy Star article.   This just a couple weeks after our Culture Matters Rally where the Mayor decided to speak about how important the arts were to the growth of the city and its residents. Flop. Times and the economy are tough. We all understand this and I think we all expected some budget cuts and I very much remember the debates we hashed out here and at the Save Indy Arts blog several months ago, but this decision is ridiculous in my opinion. 

Now I am not hear to say the arts are above budget cuts, but cutting all arts funding is excessive and short sighted.  As is cutting tourism funding. With the Super Bowl coming this way in 2012, tourism funding seems to me something we need to fund. I am not in any way an economics person and I find my self completely confused when it comes to this apparent $47 Million deficit being discussed. We are to cut all arts funding to help pay off this deficit to support the Conseco Fieldhouse, Lucas Oil Stadium and the Convention Center? I am always hearing from the anti arts funding people out there that any organization that can not support itself through their own programming should fail and not receive government support. (Not a stance I believe in.) But if this is the case, then why should these facilities, which are for profit entities that apparently draw in huge paying crowds, be funded by the city or the state. What exactly is this $47 Million paying for and will we have to pay these costs again in a year, two, five down the road? The arts budget just over a year ago, if memory serves me correctly was roughly $1.5 million a year. We would be able to keep this budget for 30 years versus this $47 Million we are supposed to pay for. 

There are a lot of people who will say, I do not attend arts events and there for I should not have to pay taxes for them. Honestly, this argument falls flat on its face before it even begins. I rarely attend performing arts events but am willing to pay taxes to help support them to some degree. I never attend sporting events but I am willing to pay some taxes to keep them viable in Indy. Cities are complex entities with many layers. We all pay for things via taxes we may not utilize or believe in but make each city unique. This is not an Art vs. Sports topic. This is about a business model which apparently went wrong and now the arts and tourism and the public are soon to be the victims. 

If anyone has a link to what all costs are included in this $47 million, post me a link please. And if you can better explain what is being paid for with this money, by all means explain it to me. 

What are your thoughts about these budget cuts? 

3 Responses to “CIB Suspends Arts and Tourism Budget”

m ruschman said...
May 5, 2009 at 3:03 PM

Scott, my best guess is that even the people that came up with that number can't explain where the money is going. Those same people were responsible for creating the budget in the first place - and we can see where that got us. Cutting funding for the arts is the easy solution, unfortunately it won't make a dent in the $47 million tab. It won't be until groups with more political clout are affected that we'll see this issue resolved, probably thru higher taxes and service fees or expanded gambling.

Craig said...
May 5, 2009 at 3:16 PM

The Capital Improvements Board of Marion County is a private company contracted to operate our sports facilities and convention center.

Their website is and has been (conveniently) "temporarily unavailable."

The leadership of our city needs to create viable and politically fair way for funding for the arts and culture to derive directly from the city's budget. Why should the "board" of a private company (appointed through political influence) be able to vote to determine whether a city should receive funding for the arts?

They should not.

Concepts of 'Unigov' and privatization in our city once seemed so progressive and efficient. In the case of the CIB, it has become fat, corporate and irresponsible - looking for a bailout like so many other poorly run institutions.

Fortunately, unlike the sportsmongers in our city, the people of arts and culture in Indianapolis are a true community of talented, caring and grassroots-minded individuals who will connect, support each other, and ultimately thrive after losing the paltry amount of support they have been receiving from the city or the board or whoever has been doling it out behind closed doors.

As an avid supporter of arts and culture I say good luck and good riddance to the CIB. I want funding for the arts through my tax dollars and from the tremendous tax revenue generated by the arts in central Indiana to be given back without the dirty hands of dealmaking swine voting a big fat NO to keep themselves in sports suites and posh living.

It is time in a new era of responsibility to unwind the incestuous mess of politics and private players in Indianapolis and let our tax dollars fall fairly back into our community to create real growth, real education and real quality of life in Indianapolis.

And it is time for strong words, not pep rallies.

Scott said...
May 5, 2009 at 3:47 PM

I was wondering what it would be like if we all had a say in how a percentage of our tax dollars were to be spent. If at tax time each year we were allowed to decide which initiatives our tax dollars would go towards. A certain majority percentage would instantly go towards government infrastructure, health care, roads, police, etc., but on our tax forms we (the citizens) then get to choose how the remainder of our individual taxes are divided up. You could decide to pay your remaining taxes towards one or more of the initiatives or projects you want to support. Those taxes earned or garnered from this process would define the budget for those areas the following year.

a- Sports Initiatives
b- Arts and Cultural
c- Parks and Recreation
d- Environmental Initiatives
e- Education
f- Small Business Initiatives
g- Big Business Initiatives

Not sure if such a system could or would work but people would at least get a say in how their taxes are spent. At least a portion of them. No longer would people be able to say their taxes paid for the arts or sports stadium they never would have approved of. Put the tax decisions back into the hands of the citizens.

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