Neil deMause on Why Giving an NFL Team a Free Stadium Isn’t Enough #Wilfare

Neil deMause is the author of Field of Schemes, a great book for anyone interested in learning about the history of how millionaire and billionaire professional sports team owners have managed to convince taxpayers that it’s in their best interest to provide hundreds of millions in subsidies to their profitable businesses.

He blogs at and has surely been heard on MPR by some of you. deMause posted a piece earlier today looking at Sen. John Marty’s proposal to give the new roof, new turf, Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome to the Vikings for $1. He explains why this deal is a “non-starter” as Vikings Wilfare queen, Jeff Anderson, has described it. The problem with the plan is that giving dozens of acres of downtown Minneapolis real estate to an NFL team owner simply isn’t enough or a giveaway:

State stadium negotiator Ted Mondale fired back that the proposal is “ridiculous” and “not a solution.” And on one level, he’s right: For the Vikings owners to get control of their stadium but have to pay property taxes on it wouldn’t really gain them anything, so they’re not going to consider it a solution to their problem. (And, in fact, a Vikings spokesperson immediately denied any interest in the Marty-Runbeck deal.)

What it does do, though, is point up that Vikings execs’ complaints about their lease at the Metrodome are beside the point: The reason they want a new stadium is to get the public subsidy that comes with it, not because a stadium itself is worth anything. Of course, we knew that already, but maybe there are some members of the state legislature for whom this will help deliver the message.

Giving away dozens of acres of downtown real estate doesn’t get the deal done because Wilf would have to pay property taxes? Like a real business? Like a real home owner?

Clearly, that’s doesn’t meet the expectations of the 1% from the 99%.

Instead, we need to extract sales taxes from the public, build a casino and earmark the money for a hand picked private entertainment business, and provide tax-exempt property to this blessed businessman from New Jersey so he’ll open his business for 8 days a year for 3 hours at a time.

It? Makes? So? Much? Sense?

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