Friday, April 01, 2005

Colts and Restaurant Taxes?

The Indianapolis Star is reporting that Gov. Mitch Daniels has proposed a compromise plan that would fund a new Colts stadium and convention center expansion. The plan? A 1% increase in restaurant taxes in Marion and seven other counties surrounding metropolitan Indianapolis. (Marion county already has a 1% restaurant tax.)

Now, I'll admit, when I first heard this, I had a pretty negative reaction. I don't go to many Colts games and why should I, a frequent restaurant eater, be taxed? But I gave it some thought and read a bit more of the proposal, and, well, I suppose it's as equitable a solution as anything else. Think about it, 1% is $1 for every $100 you spend for, say, dinner at Ruth's Chris. Add that to the 1% you already are taxed and it does start to get a little irritating, but still, at an outside guess -- on average, for me, it will probably total an additional $3-5 a month, $36-60 a year.

While I'm not wild about an additional tax, I am very committed to promoting economic development in Indiana and Indianapolis specifically. Will not keeping the Colts in town cause a downturn in our economic success? Who knows. But if we don't expand the convention center -- much more critical to the plan -- we will suffer some devastating blows as up to 10 of our major yearly trade shows outgrow the space by 2007. Much of downtown lives and dies by attendance of trade shows and conferences. Losing the largest ones will have a direct impact on restaurants and jobs. The mayor feels that the additional 1% tax puts Marion county restaurants at a disadvantage, but when was the last time you abandoned a favorite meal for something just across the county line? If paying an additional tax is what it takes to invest in our future growth, I supposed I can grit my teeth and pay it. After I've had terrific meal, anyway.

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