As someone who has conducted negotiations for a paycheck, I have marvelled for months at the tremendous gaffe the governments side has allowed to float along.
The Colts haven't signed anything.
This is Negotiation 101. One party should never begin to act and to commit resources unless and until the other side has committed to do so as well.
The government side has been so eager to act, they didn't bother getting the Colts to agree to the $3/ticket tax, or even to sign a lease. Touchdown Colts! This did not stop the Central Indiana counties from passing a 1% increase in their food & beverage taxes. Touchdown Colts!
So, the Colts are completely in the driver's seat. The governments have no leverage (Field Goal Colts!) beyond the hope that if the Colts play hardball, the public will resent it. That's a bad bet, because the governments were betting that the public would not resent a raise in taxes to support the team and a new stadium. Touchdown Colts!
In fact, the Colts never even issued the threat of leaving Indianapolis. The pols- Mayor Peterson, Governor Daniels, Senator Kenley- have all made it out that the Colts put that item on the table. Perhaps the team did behind closed doors, but no team spokesman has ever said this on the record. Touchdown Colts!
Score: Colts 31, Governments 0
Today's Indy Star report makes for amusing reading, if one is amused by three governments that fumbled into the waiting arms of team owner Jim Irsay. So, it makes for irritating reading.
Peterson said he understands the ticket tax is no longer part of the deal because the stadium can be paid for without it. Chuck Schalliol, director of the Indiana Office of Management and Budget and Gov. Mitch Daniels' chief financial official, said Thursday the tax is not essential.
This is called Giving Away The Store. Had I done something like this when negotiating on behalf of utility companies, I would have been fired before the conclusion of the negotiation.
Kenley said the legislation did not fund the authority without a lease agreement to safeguard public money. Without a deadline, there would be no pressure to finish the lease, he said. Nearing construction within months of the session's May ending is extraordinary, he added.
"Why commit that kind of money without a lease?" Kenley said. "It takes all three parties to get the resources."
Why indeed, Senator Kenley! We already have committed the money without a lease. The Republican County Councilors in Hamilton and other doughnut counties have voted for the tax increases. The taxes are already being collected by restauranteurs in some jurisdictions. Bottom line: the lease should have been signed before a single tax vote was even taken. Alas.
No part of this project has yet begun to look like anything positive for this region. This is tax & spend crony capitalism at its worst, and on display for all to see.