New Bill Would Make CIB Prove It Needs Bailout Funds

CIB Expects $47M Operating Deficit

A key state legislator offered up a bill Tuesday to make the Capital Improvement Board prove it needs the funds it's asked for to shore up its operating deficit.

The bill, now in a House-Senate conference committee, would give the CIB $27 million a year in new tax money. It also assumes another $20 million in budget cuts and contributions from the Colts and Pacers, 6News' Norman Cox reported.

But that's $10 million short of the expected $47 million shortfall the organization said it will have from running Lucas Oil Stadium, Conseco Fieldhouse, Victory Field and the Indiana Convention Center.

Rep. Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale, said he's learned one thing from many years of drawing up state budgets: people always ask for more money than they need.

"I'm not really picking on the CIB. I've just been around long enough to know that you don't believe what anybody tells you in terms of how much they want," he said. "Whether it's education or mental health or highways or the CIB, everybody always inflates their story."

Espich said it might be a good idea to give the CIB some of the taxes now in the bill, then wait to see if it really needs the rest.

Sen. Luke Kenley, who proposed the first bailout bill, said Espich's proposal was a viable option.

"I know that Jeff has gone over and looked through their books, and he has some questions to raise about this. So we need to pursue his thoughts in the conference committee to see if we can't resolve that," he said.

House members, who haven't yet voted on the bailout plan at all this session, may also want to make some changes.

"We'd like to ask our own questions, and that's why it might be important for us to have a meeting here soon and for us to be able to do that," said Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Ft. Wayne.

The conference committee may meet for the first time this week. Members have the option of ignoring previous suggestions and starting over.

The CIB has approved $9 million in cuts, including staff positions and travel in an effort to trim its deficit.