No Corporate Welfare for Vikings Stadium @savethevikesorg

It turns out that you can really piss off the corporate welfare crowd with Tweets like this one:

Responding to the Corporate Welfare Crowd

I may be a bit too fiscally conservative for Save The Vikings Lobbyist, Cory Merrifield’s taste. Personally, I think that private companies with access to private capital should rely upon private capital for capital improvement projects rather than bending the public over a barrel.

It would be hard to think of a worse idea that having the public pay for a building that is only useful to one private company. What’s the point in owning such a building? Doesn’t that put the public in a position of being held hostage by a private company?

More succinctly, if spending a billion dollars on a new stadium was a good investment, private investors would be all over the opportunity to be involved. We’re currently living in a time where finding a decent yield on any investment can be difficult. In this climate, if private investors STILL aren’t interested in touching the Vikings stadium deal, you know that the public is being asked to throw money at a horrible financial transaction.

22 thoughts on “No Corporate Welfare for Vikings Stadium @savethevikesorg”

  1. Hey Ed, 22% of season ticket holders are from out of state, so the money they spend would be lost. And player income taxes would be gone too.

  2. Point is, saying it isn’t good for the state because private investors aren’t interested is flawed. Private investors can’t collect taxes, won’t be effected by the loss of roughly 100,000 tourists annually, and don’t have the quality of life interests of over 2.5 million Minnesotans to think about.

  3. I’m watching the attempt of LA to lure a team to their city with great interest. After all, the last I checked, the leading proposal there included a privately funded stadium. Granted, that’s a huge market that could more easily support a stadium without corporate welfare, and that makes for an unfair advantage over Minnesota.

    BUT

    The appeal of sports teams in a local market lies in the notion that the hometown team could conceivably win a championship most every year (accounting for some rebuilding periods). All major sports leagues at least try to structure players’ salaries and other financial rules in an attempt to level the playing field. The NFL is one of the most lucrative sports leagues in the world, and the only reason they don’t apply the same logic to stadiums is because they know they can play one city against the fear of another for the gain of public subsidies.

  4. Good post Jeff. I think everyone would prefer to have a company like Farmer’s Insurance step up and offer $1 billion for the stadium naming rights (like they have done in LA). However, like you said, LA enjoys advantages this market cannot compete with. Consider this though. 85% of Indy’s stadium was publicly financed and included statewide sales taxes. On the other hand, the Vikings are offering to put up the 3rd highest team contribution in NFL history, are working on paying for road enhancements (most of which MNDot says would need to be made anyways and some of which are already scheduled), and no general tax fund money is being proposed.

  5. @Jim, it seem like kind of a stretch to say that no general fund money would be used when the current stadium plan involves creating a new revenue source for the state (Racino), then giving that money to the Vikings.

  6. Are the Vikings factoring in covering the cost of repairing the watershed and drinking water to City of St Paul and Ramsey County from disrupting the Superfund site they are building the stadium upon?

    Hmm, what might that cost…drinking water for ~1 million people for 50+ years….

  7. Ed, there is no current plan by state, county, or Vikings that involves Racino. That is a SaveTheVikes.org plan you are referring to. Maybe you need to brush up on the facts before writing about the situation. First you misquote the vikings’ contribution amount, and now this. There currently are NO plans by state, county, or Vikings that involve ANY state general tax funds.

  8. Other Mike – I believe the current plan has the Vikings responsible for some cleanup and the Feds for other. Not sure on details, but it doesn’t sound like state or county would be responsible for any cleanup costs.

  9. @Jim, as I understand it, there is around a $300 million gap between what the state and Vikings are willing to support, which happens to be the amount that @savetehvikingsorg is proposing collecting from a Racino. Also, notice that @savethevikesorg was in the title of this point.

  10. See, here’s the thing, Jim. As much as I love professional sports, I am perfectly okay with teams migrating to cities where privately-funded stadium options exist. There is enough money in professional sports to allow the unfettered market to provide for teams. That might mean some cities lose teams or some teams are contracted entirely, but the equivalent happens in the business sector all the time.

    And since study after study that I’ve read seems to show little to no net gain for sports teams, I have to say I just don’t care if the Vikes stay or go. Minneapolis should make the best economic decision for itself (i.e. no corporate welfare to the Wilfs) and the Vikings are free to make the best economic decision for the Vikings.

    And if the Vikings relocate to the Arden Hills site, then it will be fairly easy for me to vote with my feet and avoid spending money in places where my tax dollars would prop up billionaires.

  11. No Ed, there was a $131 million gap for roadwork. Vikings and Ramsey County came out with a plan today to fund up to $81 million of the road improvements with stadium user fees (ticket, concessions, parking charge), which means the gap is now roughly $50 million. The road improvements left are to 35W and were already planned by state.

  12. That’s your right to feel that way Jeff, and I respect your opinion. However, despite their stance on public financing, I would venture to guess most Minnesotans don’t have quite as cavalier a stance on the Vikings leaving.

  13. “then it will be fairly easy for me to vote with my feet and avoid spending money in places where my tax dollars would prop up billionaires.”

    Pretty easy claim to make over the Internet, Jeff. Read it once, read it a million times. You won’t even notice the money you spend. For the Twins, 3 cents on a $20 bar tab. But, some people need their self-righteous bloviating, Maybe you can believe it, if it helps you to sleep.

  14. Jim,

    If most Minnesotans, or more locally, residents of various districts within the Twin Cities metro area, don’t share a similar cavalier attitude, then let’s have stadium referendums like many local government ordinances require. The Wilfs, Pohlads, etc. shouldn’t go to the state and ask for that step to be bypassed if there is indeed broad support. That step gets bypassed because the billionaires know they’ll lose.

    Rat,

    Yes, I’m aware that there are times when there’s no way around paying the billionaire-imposed user fees. My comment was specific to the proposal for Arden Hills. I’m a north Minneapolis resident, so it’s not so hard for me to minimize my Ramsey County spending if it comes to that.

  15. I tried to do the same thing when St. Paul voted out the Twins stadium years back and it looked like the team really might leave. But I ended up at Summit Flying Fishing a few times. But ever since then I’ve found St. Paul easily avoidable. There may have been years I’ve gone around the world a couple times, but didnt stop in St. Paul.

  16. “quite as cavalier a stance on the Vikings leaving.”

    That’s true. I’m not cavalier about it at all. I’m highly motivated to find ways to encourage the Vikings to leave, since from what I can see, the primary effect of professional sports is to undermine ethics and even rational argument itself. How do they do this? In exactly the same way any other addiction does: professional sports fans are so wired to get their “fix” of sports that they will twist any ethics they might otherwise have in the most Orwellian fashion to rationalize why corporate welfare, cheating at games, homophobia, sexual assault, and cruelty to animals are positive goods. Or at least not quite bad enough to be worth missing a football game over.

    Instead, I think we would be better off encouraging people to actually get involved in participating in sports and supporting high-school and intramural sports. To me, that’s sportsmanship.

  17. That’s a typical elitist attitude. Or did you spin out this theory watching Vancouver hockey fans this morning. Sounds half-baked enough to me.

    Where do you hang out your shingle, or are you strictly an amateur psychologist?

  18. Dear Rat:

    Thank you for writing in to provide evidence for my opinion of the level of argumentation common among professional sports supporters.

  19. Rat:
    I’m concerned that in a time of economic crisis, our state is on the verge of throwing away a lot of money on a money pit, so that a few people with a lot of disposable income can watch six games a year in person, rather than on t.v. If you have a bias against elitism, I certainly think people who can afford Vikings season tickets are better targets of your scorn than I am.

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