Rochelle Olson’s latest piece in the StarTribune regarding Zygi Wilf’s Vikings stadium welfare proposal includes an oft-repeated talking point about stadium welfare fairness:
The Vikings have repeatedly said they want to be treated like the Minnesota Twins were when Target Field was built. The Hennepin County Board approved a 0.15 percent sales tax increase for the ballpark that opened in 2010.
This talking point infers that the Vikings are asking for the same type of welfare that the Pohlad’s managed to extract from Hennepin County. Is that really what they’re asking for? Here are a few differences that I see:
1. The Twins are extracting 0.15% in sales taxes out of MN’s largest county (Hennepin County: ~1.14 million people). The Vikings want to extract more than 3 times as much per person out of a county that’s less than half the size (Ramsey County: ~500,000 people).
2. The Twins built a stadium in a location that leverage existing transit infrastructure, including major highways, bus lines, current and future LRT lines, and the Northstar Rail. The Vikings want to build a stadium that has no transit infrastructure other than inadequate roads.
3. The Twins built a stadium that leverages existing parking facilities, including the huge ramps behind the Target Center which are used by downtown workers on weekdays, Timberwolves and Lynx fans on winter evenings, and douchebags on Friday and Saturday nights. The Vikings want to build a parking lot for 21,000 cars for their 8 regular season home games per year.
4. The Twins didn’t rely upon any direct funding from the State of Minnesota. The Vikings are demanding $300,000,000, forcing Ramsey County residents to pay sales and income taxes to Zygi Wilf’s business at a time when Ramsey County property taxes are also increasing.
5. The Twins’ ballpark cost $545 million in 2011 dollars, and is used for 81 regular season home games per year. The Vikings want to spend $1.1 billion (with a “b”) to build a stadium for 8 regular season home games per year.
6. Over 30 years, the Twins will receive a public subsidy of ~$172,839 per regular season game. By comparison, the Vikings are demanding a public subsidy of ~$2,700,000 per regular season game for 30 years (NOT including interest payments on the money the public would have to borrow).