It’s the Lies – too many of them

By:  Diane Benjamin

Repeat lies often enough and either some people will believe them – or somebody might check the facts!

Let’s check some facts!

David Hales and the Coliseum management like to spout economic impact numbers.  If accurate, the City should be swimming in all the new revenue created by the amazing gift thrust on taxpayers.

The Coliseum uses the formula below created by the Convention and Visitors Bureau to calculate the economic impact.  Real people would expect tax receipts to be used, but let’s play along:

Meetings: Number of attendees * 25% * $64
Events: Overnight attendees: Number of attendees * 25% * $130
Day attendees: Number of attendees * 75% * $40

Leave out for now that reported ticket paying attendees are frequently reported much higher than the actual numbers.  The calculation makes assumption that aren’t close to provable.   Yet Hales and Renner frequently proclaim the Coliseum has produced over $120,000,000 in economic impact.  They claim attendees eat at local restaurants and stay at local hotels.  If yes, why does downtown need a hotel?  Evidently they found one all on their own!

David Hales made this claim again at the council meeting held March 14th – hit play:


Population in 2006 – using the City’s number:  74,975

Population in 2015 – using the City’s number:  77,733

Both numbers are from the City issued financial statements:

That’s a population increase of 3.7%

The Coliseum opened in 2007, the first full year was 2008.

A reader filed a FOIA request for the actual food/beverage tax and the hotel/motel tax collected for the last 10 years:


Let’s pretend the ENTIRE increase for both was generated by the Coliseum.

The current Hotel/Motel tax rate is 6%.  That means a total increase of $14,452,200 in room sales (14,452,200 x 6% = $867,132)

The current Food/Beverage Tax is 2%.  That means a total increase of $49,611,190 in sales (49,611,190 x .02 = $992,238)

Stay with me – $14,452,200 + $49,611,190 = $64,063,390 total increase for the 9 years the Coliseum has been open.  That is far short of the $120 MILLION impact claimed by Hales in the video.

Obviously all the increases can’t be attributed to the Coliseum.

The population grew 3.7%, that impacts Food/Beverage taxes.

Then consider that taxpayers had to make to bond payments of roughly $2 MILLION per year because the Coliseum couldn’t.  That takes $18 Million off the economic impact number.

Next, what about the repairs and new scoreboards the City just bought with taxpayer money.  The new scoreboards were $1,389,605.  The Fire suppression system had emergency repairs – I’m not looking up the cost.  I’m not researching other repairs because you can see what I’m seeing:

You are being lied to.

The City of Bloomington and the Convention and Visitors Bureau (funded by taxpayers) are both lying to you.

One more note:  Uptown Normal opened the Marriott in late 2009,  the Hyatt opened in 2015.  Is Normal stealing hotel/motel tax from Bloomington?  Is that why Tari wants his own hotel downtown?

Kroger moves from Normal to Bloomington.  Dick’s Sporting Goods does the same.

Looks like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.



2 thoughts on “It’s the Lies – too many of them

  1. Thanks as always for your hard work.

    I think despite our differences we both agree not enough people vote.

    We should do something about that.



    Sent from my iPhone



  2. This article is the best explanation of economic impact. Finally some clarity! According to Mr. Jeff G, real estate broker, the tax revenue for the proposed hotel @ projected 65% occupancy is less than $400,000.00 annually. The City just pledged $50,000.00/year for the next 5 years to the Museum’s Capital Campaign–that is addition to the cost of the Visitors’ Center. The 115,000 guests to the Route 66 Visitors’ Center would contribute $8,625.00 annually in economic impact if each guest was not from Bloomington. In my opinion, this is NOT economic development but fiscal irresponsibility.

    Additionally, how many total acres of empty parcels of land does the City own which are guaranteed to generate absolutely no tax revenue.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s