The head of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, and member of Home Field Advantage, Sam Grabarski, recently penned an editorial in the Downtown Journal explaining how important the Vikings are to downtown businesses. As Grabarski put it: “We all lose BIG if nothing gets done soon at the State Capitol.”
Home Field Advantage happens to be the group that put out a very misleading push poll about how much support their is for a stadium. That’s one contribution that the group has made to get a stadium deal done.
Now, compare that to Minneapolis’ business leaders from 30 years ago. They also lobbied hard in favor of having a Vikings stadium built in downtown Minneapolis. But, unlike today’s business leaders in downtown Minneapolis, they put their money where their mouths were.
The book, Uncovering the Dome (by a name you’ll recognize, Amy Klobuchar) has a table that lists the contributions of local businesses to help get the Metrodome Built.
At the top of the list of donors? Minneapolis Star & Tribune Company/Foundation. Today, they pen multiple fear mongering pieces a day questioning will the team leave or not rather than explaining to the public whether the stadium bill is a smart financial decision or not. Frankly, the average reader of the StarTribune probably assumes that our politicians are idiots for not backing such a great deal for the state based on the paper’s boosterism.
As Klobuchar’s table illustrates, the Strib put in $5,137,000 in investments and contributions toward getting the Metrodome built. In today’s dollars, that would be $12,328,800. A $12 million contribution from the StarTribune would be one heck of a great start toward eliminating the need for sales taxes from Minneapolis residents.
Should the StarTribune put in $12 million to match their 1982 generosity? Perhaps. But, here’s another variable to consider. Wilf doesn’t want to build a cost-effective Metrodome. He wants to spend 6X more money to build a Metrodome replacement. For the StarTribune to contribute the same percentage of stadium costs toward a new stadium as they did in 1982, they would need to kick in $73,655,515. Should the StarTribune do that, half of the demand on Minneapolis taxpayers toward construction costs would be covered.
In 1982, Dayton Hudson Foundation/Corporation contributed $1,253,000 (in 1982 dollars) to help get the Metrodome built in downtown Minneapolis. Now we have a governor named Dayton who’s working to exploit gamblers in order to subsidize a New Jersey businessman’s private business. If Dayton’s (now Target Corp.) wanted to match their generosity from 1982, they could chip in $3,007,200 in 2012 dollars. But, do match their generosity on a percentage of stadium costs, they could come up with $17,965,809.
A few more interesting nuggets:
– If the top-10 largest corporate donors to the Metrodome project contributed the same amounts (on a percentage of stadium cost) to help finance Wilf’s stadium, that would generate $154,207,720. As in, it would cover the entire local share of the stadium deal without having to have a city-wide tax, a downtown restaurant tax, a beer tax, a hotel tax, etc.
– If every corporation that contributed in 1982 re-upped in 2012 for the same percentage of the stadium cost, that would raise $223,260,662.
I’ve transcribed the table into a spreadsheet to make it easier to see what businesses paid then, and what they’d need to pay now to be equally as generous.
Will local businesses contribute toward a new Vikings stadium, or continue to rely upon push polling to mislead the public into subsidizing a private business owned by a guy in New Jersey? You don’t lead by misleading.
File this under: Things you won’t see in the StarTribune.