Sen. John Marty sent out a letter to colleagues tonight regarding the financial absurdity of the Vikings stadium financing plan. The full letter is embedded below. You can click the list below to download it at Scribd.com.
A few highlights:
1. Marty has calculated the stadium costs (state and city, construction and operating subsidies) to be $77.30 per ticket. That right there shows you how bad of a deal this is. It’s pretty safe to assume that Vikings fans would not be willing to pay an extra $77.30 per ticket per game for 30 years, so this plan calls for exploiting gamblers, taxing residents of Minneapolis with a .5% citywide sales tax; taxing downtown residents, people working downtown, and visiting downtown with 3% taxes on restaurant and bar visits; shifting property tax burdens from currently taxable land surrounding the stadium to the city’s remaining taxpayers, yadda yadda. It’s so many different non-Vikings fans related taxes that it’s tough to keep track.
2. Marty points out that a strong jobs bill would be one that focuses on labor rather than materials. Refurbishing the current Vikings stadium would be one way to achieve this goal. The Vikings would prefer a brand spanking new stadium instead, but aren’t willing to pay for it (nor are fans), so refurbishing shold be on the table.
3. The public does not support this plan. Why else would we have to rely upon such a convoluted financing scheme. If building a new stadium for the Vikings made any sense at all, the public would be behind it, and this would have been done by now.
4. Marty provides a fair solution for the public and team. A true win-win: “If taxpayers pay 60% of the costs, taxpayers deserve 60% of the naming rights, 60% of the suite revenue, 60% of the parking revenue, etc.” That’s what an investment looks like. The current Vikings stadium provides charity to a for-profit business run by an out of state businessman.
Ask a Vikings fan if they’d be willing to pay an extra $77.30 per ticket for the next 30 years. If no, ask them why someone else should subsidize their tickets rather than provide tax revenue to pay for true state needs.
It’s tough to have Purple Pride when your Vikings tickets are being paid for through regressive sales and gambling taxes.