July 1, 2005
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Madison: Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has won this month’s “Noisy Dozen” award from Noise Free America for his Indiana Motorsports Initiative, which provides tax incentives to motorsports companies. The Indiana state legislature foolishly cooperated with the governor’s plan, extending a sales tax exemption for the engines and chassis of race cars to every part except the tires. The legislature also increased the tax credits investors can claim for funding Indiana motorsports companies to $12.5 million.
Indiana’s Marion College, in the finest tradition of higher education, is now offering courses on “motorsports marketing.”
Governor Daniels, an avid motorcyclist, is brimming with enthusiasm for his initiative, “It has terrific upside,” he said. “It builds on a strength that we already have.”
In reality, the governor’s initiative builds on an Indiana weakness–the culture of noise. “Indiana is already overrun with noisy speedways, motorcycles, hot rods, and boom cars,” said Ted Rueter, director of Noise Free America (based in Indianapolis). “The culture of noise causes hearing loss and incivility. Promoting motorsports is the last thing the Hoosier state should do to improve its quality of life.”
Motorsports are huge in Indiana. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts three mammoth annual events: the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400, and US Grand Prix. Central Indiana has around 400 race-related events. Indiana PBS stations broadcast “Motor Sports Week.” And, as the bumper sticker says, motorcycles ARE everywhere.
Several weeks ago, Rueter attended the Bloomington, Indiana Speedway to observe sprint cars, street stocks, and open wheel modifieds. Within the first ten minutes, there were three accidents–two spinouts and a flipover (undoubtedly facilitated by the speedyway’s dirt track).
“Noise levels were oppressive,” said Rueter. “Noise from the Bloomington Speedway can be heard from three or four miles away. While race officials wore protective headgear, fans in the stands did not. Indeed, there were numerous babies, toddlers, and elementary school kids in the crowd, who are especially vulnerable to the hazards of noise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1/8 of children between six and nineteen suffer from noise-related hearing loss.”
“Also,” Rueter continued, “noise from motor racing makes people more tolerant of noise from other sources, such as loud car stereos, illegal exhausts, leaf blowers, and car alarms.”
Indiana has many more important priorities than promoting motorsports. “The governor of Arizona is attempting to expand prescription drug coverage,” noted Rueter. “The governor of Tennessee is working on expanding open space and preserving traditional family farms. The governor of Califonria is championing stem cell research. Shouldn’t Indiana strive to be a leader in education, or health care, or biomedical research, or mass transportation? Aren’t all these far more important than motorsports?
“A motor speedway in every Hoosier hometown? No thanks.”
Noise Free America is a national citizens group opposed to noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include Governor Jesse Ventura, Governor Gray Davis, and Congressman Darrell Issa. Noise Free America’s web site is http://www.noisefree.org.