County Commissioner Greg Hartmann is proposing to redirect $22 million of indigent care levy funding to bail out the bankrupt stadium fund. He is the only commissioner so far who has presented a well thought out, workable plan for this, and the only one who has committed to fixing what's broken without doing further harm to peoples' budgets through tax increases. He should be applauded for his effort.
Obamacare making it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, requiring every american to purchase health insurance, and providing coverage for those unable to afford it. Thus there are no more uninsured people to receive indigent care, and therefore no need for an indigent care levy. The feds will be handling it from here on out.
However the 1/2 cent sales tax passed to construct two new sports stadiums has been abused by previous commissioners to fund all sorts of things the voters never intended. In addition to the two stadium boondoggles, funds were redirected to the Ft Washington Way boondoggle, part of the Freedom Center boondoggle, portions of the Riverfront Transit Center boondoggle, and The Banks boondoggle.
Now the stadium fund is approaching insolvency and would have to be bailed out with dollars from the county general fund. Those dollars are already barely funding the statutory needs of the county such as courts, sheriffs, etc. Any bailout would necessarily result in a reduction of government services.
Commissioner Todd Portune proposes to fix the deficit strictly through new taxes, while commissioner David Pepper wants to erase the red ink by eliminating the property tax rollback (an old tax cut) which he previously promised was a "deeply illegitimate act" and therefore off the table.
Greg Hartmann's proposal to use the Obamacare dividend to makeup the shortfall in the stadium fund is a responsible and logical strategy to play the political cards we have been dealt. It should be implemented.
2010-06-08 Supplement: Read Hartmann's proposal to the Tax Levy Review committee here. Local 12 coverage of same here. Enquirer Politics Extra coverage here.