What I find most interesting in Bakk’s comments (at 2:45) is that he thinks it’s important to get a Vikings stadium deal done before we know how crappy the state’s revenue situation will be. In a nutshell, he infers that the budget is going to suck, so we need to spend money that we don’t have now, because we won’t be able to justify it later.
Bakk’s comments on gambling are also quite strange. He says that he opposes a racino because he’s against gaming. However, this is the same Tom Bakk who’s willing to more than double the amount of gambling in the state and earmark the money to Wilf, as the StarTribune pointed out on November 1st:
Bakk said he won’t support a broader gambling expansion, but he supports the pull tab idea to help pay for a stadium and provide some relief for charities.
“We already have bingo, so big deal,” Bakk said. “The charities need some help and this is a gambling proposal I support.”
He “doen’t believe the state should be in the gambling business because it sends a poor message to young people”. But the reason the pulltab industry wants to expand gambling using electronic pulltabs is because they are convinced that it will increase the amount of gambling by . . . young people. MPR addressed that:
Charitable gambling advocates want to see more players like Luke Meyer, hoping interest from the “younger generation” can reverse the downward trend. And technology is the key, they said.
Allied Charities of Minnesota will lobby state legislators this spring to pass initiatives allowing electronic pulltabs and bingo, Wilson said. He said the current games are “not as interesting to a younger generation of players.”
Bakk does a nice job sticking to Vikings stadium #wilfare talking points, such as talking about the percentage of revenue the Vikings are putting in compared to the Vikings. While it’s true that the Vikings are offering a larger percentage of the total stadium costs, they are demanding far more in actual public dollars than the Twins did, since the Twins stadium cost half of what Zygi Wilf wants to spend to build a 21,000 car parking lot plus stadium in Arden Hills.
It’s good to hear Bakk admit that borrowing $650,000,000, then forcing the public to make debt payments on that over 30 years for the benefit of a private business that’s open 10 days per year is not popular. And, he admits that professional sports business models are broken if they have to rely upon hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to make their models work. But, he loses me when he suggests that it’s up to the public to make up for the shortcomings in the NFL/Vikings’ business model.
One thing Bakk doesn’t bother to do is suggest is asking the fans to contribute toward stadium costs. IF season ticket holders aren’t willing to help pay for a stadium, why should the general public? Until Bakk and other legislators ask something – anything – of Vikings fans, we haven’t seen real leadership toward making those who’d benefit most from a stadium pay their fair share.