Monday, February 8, 2010

Because of massive over-spending, Stadium Fund faces deficit

There is no question that Commissioners Bob Bedinghaus, Tom Neyer and John Dowlin sold out the voters when they negotiated the Bengal’s stadium lease in September 1996. However, the Stadium Fund would not be in the fix it is today were it not for the continued spending by Commissioners Todd Portune and David Pepper from a fund that already is insolvent. Their over-spending has accelerated the day of reckoning to the middle of today’s recession, when tax revenues are depressed and the problems even more pronounced.

Since the democrats have taken control of the County Commission, and knowing that the fund was broke, Portune and Pepper have committed to $90 million in new spending on the Banks infrastructure, and Commissioners have spent more than $20 million on outside counsel. This and other mis-spending has driven a Stadium Fund deficit that requires a tax increase or a subsidy from the County’s general fund in 2011.

Perhaps even worse than the negligent financial projects of a prior commission, Portune and Pepper have committed to spending millions on future phases of the Banks project, knowing that the fund was hopelessly insolvent, thus committing County voters to a nearly inevitable tax increase.

Breaking a solemn campaign promise, David Pepper has proposed eliminating the property tax rollback that was a fundamental part of the stadium tax deal. Pepper also relies upon a new ticket tax from ticket sales at the two stadiums to close the gap, but fails to mention that these two revenue sources will not pay for the estimated $30 million annual Stadium Fund deficit. Pepper could not find a second vote for his fundamentally dishonest plan.

So, Commissioners Portune and Pepper have decided to pursue a sales tax increase to fund the Stadium Fund deficit. It is on four separate sales tax increase proposals that they are having public hearings this week and next, including two that will again bypass voters.

While Portune and Pepper are playing the same broken record that we can blame Bob Bedinghaus for the fiscal straits of the County, the reality is that Portune and Pepper have significantly worsened the deficit, and did so when they well knew the fund was insolvent.


  1. This is not a problem. We can just tax our way out of this.

    We appreciate Leslie Ghiz for supporting David Pepper for Commissioner in 2006. Because of Pepper's victory, we tax hikers have the majority. Your taxes are going up and there's nothing you can do about it. We are so thankful to have Ghiz on our side.

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  3. Isn't what you call Pepper's irresponsible plan the plan put forward by the county administration? You guys have really done a hatchet job, particularly one that is short of the facts. As the people who brought us the stadium fund and sales tax, I would have hoped you would take ownership of this disaster instead of trying to blame the present counsel. It almost seems like to be against taxes, you need to be against COAST.


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