Vikings Are Exempt from Being Treated Like a Locally Owned Businesses are Treated

Looking through the MN Senate’s latest Vikings stadium corporate welfare bill, I found 34 uses of the term “exempt”. Here are a few things Zygi Wilf’s business would be exempt from that most locally owned businesses are not exempt from:

Subd. 43. Building materials; football stadium. Materials and supplies used or
3.32consumed in, and equipment incorporated into, the construction or improvement of the
3.33football stadium and stadium infrastructure as defined in section 473J.03, subdivisions 7
3.34and 9, are exempt.

If you go to a hardware store to pick up some building supplies, you pay taxes. When Zygi Wilf buys supplies for an NFL stadium, he does not. This is an additional tens of millions of dollars in subsidies on top of the money the public would be borrowing so we can gift it to Zygi’s business.

11.24 Subd. 11. Exemption from Metropolitan Council review; Business Subsidy Act.
11.24The acquisition and betterment of a stadium and stadium infrastructure by the authority
11.25must be conducted pursuant to this chapter and are not subject to sections 473.165 and
11.26473.173. Section 116J.994 does not apply to any transactions of the authority or other
11.27governmental entity related to the stadium or stadium infrastructure or to any tenant or
11.28other users of the stadium or stadium infrastructure. The Metropolitan Council shall waive
11.29any sewer access charges or similar fees and charges customarily imposed attributable to
11.30the design and construction of the stadium and stadium infrastructure.

I pay a monthly sewer bill. But Zygi can sell food and beer to people attending games without being responsible for the costs of dealing with that food and beer.

Sec. 18. [473J.19] PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION; SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS.
23.28Any real or personal property acquired, owned, leased, controlled, used, or occupied
23.29by the authority for any of the purposes of this chapter, is acquired, owned, leased,
23.30controlled, used, and occupied for public, governmental, and municipal purposes. The
23.31stadium and stadium infrastructure are exempt from ad valorem taxation by the state
23.32or any political subdivision of the state provided that the properties are subject to
23.33special assessments levied by a political subdivision for a local improvement in amounts
23.34proportionate to and not exceeding the special benefit received by the properties from the
23.35improvement.

No property taxes? Quite a deal. If Zygi doesn’t pay property taxes, and the new stadium taxes up more land than the old stadium, guess who makes up the revenue difference caused by taking land off the property tax rolls? Not Zygi.

This section, insofar as it provides an exemption or special treatment, does not apply to
24.8any real property that is leased for residential, business, or commercial development or to
24.9a restaurant that is open for general business more than 200 days a year, or other purposes
24.10different from those contemplated in this chapter.

Sounds like someone could run a restaurant on the property for 9 months per year without paying property taxes.

Subd. 44. Building materials, capital projects. Materials and supplies used or
67.2consumed in and equipment incorporated into the construction or improvement of a capital
67.3project funded partially or wholly under section 297A.9905 are exempt, provided that the
67.4project has a total construction cost of at least $40,000,000 within a …-month period.

While you probably don’t spend $40 million on renovating your home, if Zygi Wilf spent $40 million or more renovating the stadium we’d pay for, he wouldn’t have to pay taxes on the construction materials (if he’s like other NFL owners, he’d also probably demand that we pay for the improvements). Next time you work on your own home or business, see if you can up your costs to $40 million or more to quality for that deal.

In a nutshell, this bill puts the public on the hook for far more money than the Dayton and Rybak’s grand announcement claimed. The fine print doesn’t seem to fall in the public’s favor.

One thought on “Vikings Are Exempt from Being Treated Like a Locally Owned Businesses are Treated”

  1. This is insane. The Vikings should get zero dollars and zero tax breaks. They are a business, they need to earn what they make. If they can’t do that, they should sell the team. (to another Minnesotan of course).

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