Friday, February 11, 2005

Pull tabs stuck at starting gate

Procedural issue puts pull tabs decision on hold
INDIANAPOLIS — Because of a procedural snafu, legislation that would allow alternative gaming at Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs will remain at the starting gate for a few more days.The Indiana House Public Policy Committee was scheduled Wednesday to consider amendments to the legislation and then vote whether or not to send the bill to the full House for consideration.The proposed bill would allow Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs to each have 2,500 pull-tab machines with some funding going toward the construction of a new stadium for the Indianapolis Colts.Committee chairman Bob Alderman decided to continue the hearing on the bill because a number of the 12 amendments were not provided to committee members two hours before the meeting.“No new amendments will be accepted,” said Alderman. “I asked for the amendments to be submitted last week.”Committee member Terri Austin, D-36th District, said she didn’t get the amendments two hours before the meeting and has not had a chance to review them.“They didn’t meet the two-hour rule,” Austin said. “We need time to look at the amendments and know what we’re being asked to vote on. The additional time is needed to make good decisions.”The proposed bill has become a political football between Republicans and Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, a Democrat.One expected amendment will remove financing for a new Colts stadium from the bill and then have the proposal offered as a second reading amendment on the House floor.Several lawmakers and lobbyists indicated that Republicans want Peterson to raise taxes in Marion County for the new stadium, something he is opposed to. A vote on the House floor will force each lawmaker to vote yes or no on construction of a new stadium and keeping the Colts in Indianapolis.Mike Brown, who represents Hoosier Park through the Indiana Horse Racing and Breeding Coalition, said the coalition recognizes that there are a number of interests involved in the legislation.“This is all part of the process,” he said of the delay on the bill. “The horse racing industry has concerns, there are state and local revenue concerns and politics in the process.”The coalition is just interested in keeping a bill moving through the legislative process, Brown said.“Whatever comes out,” he said, “we want lawmakers to keep in mind the horse racing industry.”Rep. Scott Reske, D-37th District, a co-author of the legislation, plans to offer an amendment that changes the distribution of funding in Madison County.Reske is offering an amendment to change the distribution of the 7 percent tax that will be collected at Hoosier Park. He said the city of Anderson’s share is being increased from 15 to 18 percent and the amount going to the Madison County Economic Development Council is being reduced from 35 to 32 percent.He said another part of the amendment will provide $200,000 to Alternatives Inc. during the first year for construction of the new shelter, $250,000 during the second year to post -secondary education program and $200,000 the third year to the Madison County Community Health Clinic.Reske said another amendment will make the entire city of Anderson a sports district, similar to what Indianapolis has around the RCA Dome and Conseco Fieldhouse.He said a portion of the income derived by horse owners and jockeys at Hoosier Park will be distributed to Anderson and Madison County.Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith said he will have to review any proposed amendments before commenting.“The city still owes more than $1 million on the bonds issued for the infrastructure at Hoosier Park,” he said. “The track revenue doesn’t support the bond issue for the track or for the renovation of Shadyside Park.”Last we knew: House Public Policy Committee considering legislation to allow 2,500 pull-tab gaming machines at Hoosier Park. Revenue will fund new Colts stadium with Madison County to receive 7 percent in tax revenues.Latest: Committee continued hearing on Wednesday when amendments to the bill were not provided to committee members two hours before the meeting, as required by the rules.What’s next: Commission scheduled to consider 12 amendments to the bill on Monday.

Reader Comments
As usual (2/10/2005)They can't get anything done on time.If everybody would get thier fingers out of the pie they might be able to quit wasting time and taxpayers money.Put everything in the general fund where it belongs.
(2/10/2005)The Mayor should be able to hammer out an agreement with the other towns that are set to receive the same 15% as proposed and have them give a portion to the city of Anderson as oppose to trying to go for 40% and take a chance killing the whole deal for everyone. It called diplomacy, or the lack there of....and if the bill dies, Hoosier Park is gone. Any ideas for alternative uses for an abandon horse track, not to mention the jobs lost Kevin ? Bill Savage - Elwood
(2/10/2005)Last years bill (HB1188) was for Pull-Tabs. Pull-Tabs are not even mentioned in this years version (HB1569). It is now Slot Machines that are being considered. The payouts are calulated differently. Just thought you might want to get your story straight and not confuse the Herald-Bulletin reading public.
(2/9/2005)Just remember, it is the Democrats here that is bringing more gambling to Indiana.
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