CDS Community Development Strategies
This action was and remains quite controversial. The Speedway successfully argued that they create a considerable economic impact in the state of Indiana. The track is an icon, one of the most defining aspects of the state and the Indianapolis 500 continues to be the world’s largest single-day sporting event, with many of the 250,000+ attendees bringing their wallets across the state line. They also argued that Indiana’s professional sports teams play in taxpayer-funded facilities and that similar tax reimbursement plans exist at other racing facilities elsewhere in the country and across the world. The money returned to the Speedway would help it remain modern and competitive in a sports and entertainment landscape far more crowded than the one in which the Indianapolis 500 initially became America’s most famous race.
Opponents cite the questionable principle of the arrangement, that creating a public district for the sole purpose of returning tax money to a private, for-profit group should not be within the role of the government. Special taxing districts, specifically, are usually for direct public benefit and fund items for public use. They are created to reinvigorate blighted areas or to fund infrastructure in healthy areas and create an environment that attracts and retains residents and employers. There is also the concern that, despite this being the Speedway’s first request for assistance in over a century of existence, this will lead to more requests and eventually extensive government subsidization of a professional sport, again not within the role of government.
The Speedway’s argument has been consistently successful across the American sports and business landscape over the past few decades because it lines up with the priorities of those in power. It will remain that way until those priorities or those in power change.
Speedway request for tax money could start heated debate
Give Indianapolis Motor Speedway the tax break