Lance Hagen at Football Tickets Online does a good job explaining the frustration felt by Vikings fans who have been closely following the status of the Vikings stadium corporate wilfare proposal as it comes to a halt at each new hurdle:
Where to start….. Once again the MN State Legislature stalls and progress is ceased when it comes to the current stadium bill moving forward. As an obvious fan, I am beyond frustrated and ticked off as anyone.
Here’s the issue, as I see it. Hagen understand the issue. He is frustrated with the legislative process designed to provide Zygi Wilf’s business with more than half a billion dollars to subsidize a replacement NFL stadium. Yet, Lance Hagen is not frustrated enough with the process to cut government out of the process and just send Zygi Wilf a check for 1/65,000th of the cost of a new stadium.
I attended the Legislative Committee session last week. How to finance the project is the question and has felt like stagnant water which is making many people sick……and in this case I have been really sick for about 2 years.
But not sick enough to just send Zygi Wilf a check for 1/65,000th of the cost of a new stadium.
Hagen then breaks down the various financing schemes that have been proposed but failed to find acceptance from legislators such as shifting Minneapolis entertainment taxes to subsidize Zygi Wilf’s business, a Racino to subsidize Vikings season ticket holder’s tickets, a Block E casino to help pay for a tailgating lot, expanding pulltabs with electronic pulltabs so the Vikings can build a new ramp for the 1%, and using charitable gambling to support Zygi Wilf’s, um, charity.
Funding sources Hagen did not consider in his piece:
1. Having the 65,000 biggest Vikings fans pool their money to come up with less than $10,000 each over the next 30 years (far less than the cost of a cable bill) to subsidize the portion of Zygi Wilf’s stadium that Wilf refuses to pay for.
2. Asking more of Zygi Wilf. How much has Zygi compromised in stadium negotiations in the past year? It sure doesn’t seem like much.
3. Asking the NFL to help Zygi out. The NFL knows that Minnesota is a strong market for them. If they want their MN franchisee to play in a new stadium, they are free to make it happen.
4. Hagen seems to have overlooked the Vikings stadium bill that received committee approval last week offering the Vikings a stadium construction loan rather than a gift. Using the state’s borrowing power to offer a business a reliable funding source for capital improvements seems like sound public policy to me. Especially when compared to stadium financing plans that involve giving the Vikings more in cash and tax breaks than the team would return to the public in tax revenus over 30 years.
If Vikings fans’ loyalty fades as soon as they are asked to help pay for Zygi’s replacement stadium, we see that even Vikings fans don’t see enough value in a new stadium to justify subsidizing it.