@savethevikesorg’s Cory Merrifield is concerned about what impact having Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) as Majority Leader would have on Zygi Wilf’s demands for more public subsidies than any team in the history of the National Football League. The issue here is that Hann is opposed to public subsidies for the Vikings, is anti-tax, and is also anti-gambling, making it very difficult for the state to meet Wilf’s demands. Here is how Merrifield breaks it down:
The Vikings operate out of Winter Park which is in Eden Prairie, MN. The Vikings are Hann’s constituents and it is customary for Republican Leaders to represent the businesses of their districts bills that would expand business and grow jobs.
Senators generally do not support spending state money to relocate businesses to areas outside their district. As I’ve explained here in the past, Eden Prairie’s loss is Arden Hills’ Gain. Would Hann be willing to borrow more than $650,000,000 and have the state make debt payments on that income for decades in order to subsidize the loss of a business from his district? Not likely.
Hann would preside over a Minnesota Senate that is eager and ready to pass a Vikings stadium bill financed by Zygi Wilf and expanded gambling.
The Senate didn’t have the votes under Amy Koch and won’t have the votes under Hann if the terms of the deal are to borrow $650,000,000 at a cost of more than $50 million/year in order to build a 21,000 car parking lot in Arden Hills (plus a stadium). If Koch had the votes, she would have worked with Dayton to call a special session and get the deal done.
The Vikings stadium issue cannot be ignored as they play their final game next week at the Metrodome-New Years Day, 2012.
The terms of the lease stipulated that the Vikings lease is extended another year due to the roof collapse next year, so the sense of urgency is overblown. That said, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to get a deal done now, which is why Zygi Wilf needs to go to a bank and borrow $650,000,000 so he can break ground today. The fastest way to get started on building a new stadium is to keep government out of the deal.
The Vikings stadium will create over 10,000 jobs and generate over $35 million a year for the state of Minnesota. The majority of those jobs will be in the construction trades which are at 20 percent unemployment.
“On a game day at the Metrodome, the Vikings organization supports 2,800 full- and part-time jobs.” It’s not clear to me why a stadium with nearly the same number of seats would employ nearly 4X as many people. I think the reason it’s not clear to me is because Merrifield’s figure is ridiculous.
The majority of the Vikings season ticket holders in the metro reside in the southwest metro, including Eden Prairie which Hann Legislates over.
Put another way: Vikings fans live in some of the wealthiest suburbs of the Twin Cities, yet are demanding that their season tickets be subsidized as a rate of more than $40 PER GAME for the next 30 years. The easiest way to solve this is to simply ask Vikings fans to cover the true cost of attending Vikings games. If fans like Merrifield like the team so much, why are they demanding Wilfare?
Over 70 percent of Minnesotan’s want to keep the Vikings
Actually, it’s 65%, and only until you ask them to pay. The StarTribune poll where that figure comes from also showed that the majority of Minnesotans do not support spending public money to finance a stadium. Republicans oppose stadium financing. Democrats do too. And Independents. In fact, the only group that supports spending the public’s money to subsidize Zygi Wilf’s business are people making over $75,000 per year.
Over 70 percent of Minnesotan’s want Racino
Sen. Hann explains why gambling is a horrible model for generating state revenue.
That’s even before one considers using gambling revenues as a source of Wilfare. Sen. Hann opens the press conference above and closes with his take on using gambling specifically for NFL franchise welfare.
Over 60 percent of people think a Vikings stadium should be financed with Racino
No. That NOT what the poll stated. The question asked was: “I’m going to read you a list of the public funding options being considered to help pay for a new Vikings stadium. If a stadium is to be built, please tell me whether you support or oppose each of the following.”
There is a huge difference between what Merrifield claims and what the poll asked. The public does not think a Vikings stadium should be financed with a Racino. The poll showed that the public believes that a stadium should not be financed by the public. And they think that, should the public be forced by legislators to pay for something they don’t want paid for with the public’s money, the way they’d prefer to have it paid for is with a Minnesota Lottery Vikings scratch-off game.
But, the challenge here for Merrifield and other Vikings stadium Wilfare queens is that Sen. Hann doesn’t support gambling in any form. Here is a Nov 2nd interview from MN Senate Media where Sen. Hann makes this very clear over the first 3 minutes:
It must suck to want something bad enough to want other people to pay for it, but not enough to pay for it yourself. If Cory Merrifield and his fellow Vikings Wilfare fans simply pooled their money and sent a check to Zygi Wilf, Zygi could break ground on his 21,000 car parking lot in Arden Hills. If “Save the Vikes” best plan for saving the Vikes is to exploit gamblers for the benefit of an NFL franchise owner, it’s clear to me that Vikings fan support isn’t substantial enough to make the team worth saving.