#Vikings Stadium #Wilfare Queens Concerned about Sen. David Hann’s Principles

@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.

15 thoughts on “#Vikings Stadium #Wilfare Queens Concerned about Sen. David Hann’s Principles”

  1. It must suck for pro-stadium folks to find out that reasonably sounding politicians aren’t falling on their knees in awe at the NFL’s greatness.

    If only there was a pro sport that stood on it’s own merits…pro lacrosse maybe?

  2. Send them to LA. 50 years of ineptitude is enough. LA will build them the dream palace they want and the value of the team will skyrocket in that market. This market can’t support four major sports.

  3. What kind of slanted crap is this, Edward? Exploit gamblers? If people want to gamble, they will regardless of Racino. Where I live (in the metro area) if I want to gamble I can go to a hundred different gas stations to get scratch offs, other lottery tickets, etc. I can also go to just about every bar around here to play pull tabs….or I can go to Mystic Lake, Treasure Island or Grand Casino (If you are talking about exploiting gamblers these places do it the worst which will give you free weekend hotel rooms and alcohol if you spend more money!) are all within an hour and half away. But Racino, Yep Racino is going to exploit gamblers and ruin the people of Minnesota…Laugh. Really? I won’t change a damn thing BUT RAISE $$$$$. It will be installed at places where there is ALREADY people that are gambling everywhere on everything from horses to cards….but the slots will ruin everything?! Get real. You are so slanted and bias it’s ridiculous. It should be known to everybody that you could care less about football and that’s why you go so hard against this, but ignore everything else that is taxpayer subsidized. Also with the queens thing? You also like the Packers according to your Twitter page, coincidence? Everything becomes clear about you if you read enough of your crap.

    This market CAN support 4 teams and has for years, Sank.

  4. Funny thing about those other things that the public subsidizes (you know, the streets, schools, health car for the poor, etc…) is that they’re things we need. And they’re not million-dollar giveaways to successful businesses owned by millionaires. I guess that’s why Ed doesn’t complain about them.

  5. Actually it has not supported 4 teams for years. The Timberwolves have been losing money for years and without subsidies from the Target center would be contracted had the NBA gone that route.. and they may still except there are a few teams that are even in worse shape than the wolves- Hornets, Bobcats, Kings…

    Twins pulled an end around for their stadium deal.

    Wild are doing well, making money on the all the concerts and extra stuff going on over there. Now that they’re starting to sell out the place again I would anticipate they’ll do fine.

    Fact is the Vikings with out a new stadium are worth a fraction of what they could be, especially in LA.

  6. @”Ed Kohler is bias”, it sounds like you’re picking a fight with the wrong person. I’m not the elected official who may soon be the Senate Majority Leader from a party who’s official platform opposes gambling expansion.

  7. Matthew, I was not talking about those things such as schools etc. I am talking about banks, oil companies etc. They are on a grand scale though, but still chooses to ignore them even they are a much bigger of a problem. If you are going to complain about one thing that you are against don’t forget about the ones that are even worse.

    Sank, Yes they have. Just the product (T-Wolves) on the floor has been horse ass since 2004, watch that change this year. The Wild do well, the Twins do well, both top 5 in attendance. he Vikings would be a middle of the pack team (revenue wise)if there was a new stadium and there will be. They have sold out the crappiest stadium in the NFL since 1997. They have very good fans. 3-12 season? People still go to that hockey locker room of a stadium..

    Yes, the value would go up if they moved to LA, no doubt. But the Vikings are number 5 in TV rankings and they have a solid 50+ year old fan base with classic rivals and the NFL doesn’t want to move them. They would much prefer The some other team like the Rams or Chargers..or to expand and make even more money.

    Spin it any way you want, the stadium will get done and there is nothing you can do about it and that makes me smile from ear to ear. I don’t like paying taxes on various things I don’t care or agree with, but I pay them without a peep. For once I would like it to go to something that I enjoy. If they go the gambling finance route that would be all the better. That would be voluntary and not inconvenience anybody but people who gamble (which I do). The thought that it would create more gamblers is too funny, what are these people doing in these places if they aren’t gambling in the first place? It would just expand it and that’s all.

    Those polls are deceiving as well, you know what they say, those who are against something are always the loudest. That’s really skewed way of thinking is to look at polls, When the average person sees these polls that are against it jump on them right away. I, a season ticket holder of 14 years look at it and blow it off because they mean NOTHING.

  8. @”Ed Kohler is bias” if the teams are doing so well, why haven’t the T’wolves been able to cover their rent at the Target Center? Why has Xcel asked the state to forgive debt payments? Why haven’t the Vikings paid rent on the Metrodome for years? Why are the Vikings demanding more money in public subsidies than any team in the history of the NFL? If the fan support was high enough, none of that would need to happen.

    Regarding gambling, it seems like it inconveniences businesses and non-profits who are the victims of embezzlement from gambling addicted employees. And inconveniences families who fall behind on rent or mortgage payments due to gambling addictions.

  9. The Timberwolves have had attendance issues since 2004, that’s why on their part. The Xcel asked for that not the Wild, did they get it? You saying the Vikings are asking the most in NFL history is skewed…and you know it. Of course it is, why? Its 2012 not 1996, prices of things go up and up…. it’s called inflation. They haven’t paid rent in years because of the lack of revenue the Metrodome creates and that was the MSFC’s decision. I could also say the Vikings are making the 3rd largest contribution in NFL history and this isn’t LA or NY… The fan support is plenty, it’s people like you who have the problem with it because.. well you aren’t a fan and could care less if the Vikings existed or not.

    That gambling argument is really laughable, these problems already exist without anything Vikings related. So you are saying people will be late on rent or mortgage because of gambling addiction? They already are addicted this wouldn’t make anything worse. If people want to gamble, they will regardless. Look at the mortgage crisis all over the country, is it sports subsidized related.. Hell no. Look at your banks for that.

  10. @”Ed Kohler is bias”, I changed your commenter name to keep it consistent. I don’t care if you comment anonymously, but have the decently to stick with the same username. Creating the illusion of people sharing your views is unfair to other commenters.

    I tend to look more at how much the Vikings are asking for from the public than how much the team is paying because I care about how much the public is being asked to pay. Is that a bias? Yes. Toward the public’s interest over that of an NFL franchise owner in New Jersey.

    If fan support was as high as you suggest, the Vikings should be able to make the revenue they’d like without building a new stadium. Just increase ticket prices. If the Vikings increased ticket prices by $40 per ticket, they should be able to make a league-average profit and pay rent for a change. But, as we probably both agree, fans in this market are far too cheap and have too many competing sports entertainment options to support prices like that.

    Help me understand how expanding gambling wouldn’t expand gambling side-effects.

  11. Only reason I changed the name is because it was having problems going through so I changed names and then all of a sudden I got a double post.. wasn’t intentionally trying to make it look like two different people.

    You’re part of the public, I am part of the public. We have differences of opinion, who’s to say what’s the best interest of the public? You? Me? What does him being from NJ have to do with anything? All things Vikings and stadium related with go to the state of MN, not NJ (aside from what he makes personally) which I don’t have a problem with. He owns a an NFL team, what should he do? Try and lose money? The Metrodome is not feasible AT ALL anymore and they play there for free. It’s also a nightmare for fans as well. That building is against current fire codes and is like a sardine can waiting to be torn down. Got there and see what I mean.

    You can’t just raise ticket prices that high (it wouldn’t bug me) but for the average fan attending one game a year that would be outrageous to ask. 3 cents a beer could work wonderfully, but it seems there is a problem with any alternatives that anyone cones up with there is always someone who will complain. That’s the nature of politics, you can’t please everyone. This will not break the state of MN and turn it into Detroit. Come on. It’s in the states best interest to keep them, it’s good for the culture, they bring in revenue, tourism etc. Answer this; Why has every city that lost an NFL franchise paid twice as much to get one back? St. Louis, Baltimore, Houston etc and now LA? Because they know what it brings to the state financially and for state morale.

    Explain to me how in the metro area if you want to gamble in any way, you can go to hundreds of places already that have it and a racetrack that gets some slot machines will make things worse? The fact is people that gamble have problems regardless. If there wasn’t gambling in this state period I would understand but there is and a lot of it. That would be like me blaming the bars and liquor stores in my area for my alcohol problem. They aren’t asking to build 12 new casino’s just some added slot machines where there is already gambling going on. Like I said before, what are those people doing at the Downs if they aren’t already gambling their money away on cards and horses? The new slot machines will make them worse? I think not.

  12. We can all say what’s in the best interest of the public. In my opinion, redirecting the state’s resources to a private business is not good public policy. Especially to a business that does not create an exportable product.

    Wilf being a NJ/NY resident is relevant because it means that profits from the team will leave the state at a faster rate than if he lived here. Same goes for the team’s players.

    I don’t think Wilf should avoid trying to make money, but it’s not our responsibility to pad his profits with public funds.

    If the Dome isn’t feasible, why has the Vikings franchise increased in value over the time Wilf has owned it?

    Why should people who enjoy beer be forced to have their income redistributed to a New Jersey businessman? If fans aren’t willing to cover the true cost of a new stadium (or, simply direct enough money to Wilf to meet his profit interests) why should the public make up the difference?

    We can’t please everyone, but we can please the majority of the public if we don’t spend public’s money on a stadium for a private business.

    If it’s in the state’s best interest to keep the team, a deal would already be done. Regarding St. Louis, politicians occasionally do dumb things. But, at least it wasn’t as dumb as what Wilf is asking Minnesota’s politicians to do.

    LA’s stadium deal involved private financing by AEG. Something I support. Why don’t you?

    Do you honestly believe that morale is higher in Baltimore or Houston than Minneapolis? Based on livability polls, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

    People with gambling problems have fewer problems if they have access to fewer outlets. We do regulate alcohol distribution and sales: for example, you can’t buy alcohol after 2AM in bars or 10pm in stores.

  13. Ed Kohler is bias: “If they go the gambling finance route that would be all the better. That would be voluntary and not inconvenience anybody but people who gamble (which I do).”

    It seems like any funding option, even gambling, will affect everybody in Minnesota. Consider this:

    1) New forms of gambling may reduce the amount spent on (and thus the state proceeds from) existing forms of gambling, and

    2) Dedicating expanded gambling revenue to the Vikings prevents the state from using that revenue source for other purposes. So if there’s another state budget shortfall, my taxes could be raised and my services could be cut because we wouldn’t have the option anymore of tapping into this expanded gambling revenue.

    Imagine if I wanted to get a second job on weekends to save money for a new boat. Seems like a good idea, except I’m not the only one in my household — while I’m away at my new second job, my wife would see a dramatic increase in her child care responsibilities, and my kids would likely see a reduction in their activities. It would be even worse if the income from my first job was variable — in down times, my wife would probably appreciate my second income going towards the regular household budget, rather than being permanently earmarked for my boat.

    It’s no different for the state: every source of income directly or indirectly affects every expenditure.

  14. Well said Tony…and after 30 years of anti-tax leadership from the GOP, where they wanted to shrink government spending, it is especially thoughtless to create a newly expanded lowest-common denominator taxed activity (gambling) to specifically fund the 2nd lowest-common denominator activity (pro sports), when we recently had real infrastructure (an interstate bridge collapsed and year two of the Plymouth Ave bridge being closed) failing due to necessary maintenance being shorted.

    That would be akin to buying your boat AFTER your roof fell in, when a better use of that money from working that 2nd job would seem rather obvious where it should go, eh?

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