Visualizing the Public Losses in the Current Vikings Stadium Bill #wilfare

The MN Senate released their cost projections for the Vikings stadium yesterday. This data combines the revenue the State of Minnesota and City of Minneapolis would extract on Zygi Wilf’s behalf to build a stadium for Zygi Wilf’s private NFL franchise.

If we compare that to the sales and income taxes the team expects to generate over the 30 year life of the stadium, here is how things will shake out for the public under the terms of the current Vikings stadium bill that Ted Mondale negotiated on our behalf:

After 30 years, the revenue the public would earn from the team through sales and income taxes would leave the public more than $600 million in the hole. If you “invest” $550 million into something only to find yourself owing more than $600 million after 30 years, have you made a smart investment? Of course not. Which makes me wonder why Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont) is working so hard to push such a lopsided bill through the legislature.

To get a feel for how bad a deal this is, look at how the state would fare if the Vikings financed a new stadium privately like the Giants and Jets did in New York:

Private Financing in Purple Pride rather than #Wilfare Red

Rather than losing $600 million over 30 years, the public would gain just short of $1 billion from the sales and income taxes generated by the Vikings Corporation.

Granted, the Vikings, Vikings fans, and local businesses don’t seem to have the financial will or Purple Pride to fund a billion dollar stadium privately, which leads to the following questions:

1. Why not just use the paid-for Metrodome? It offers, by far, the best return for the public.

2. Why not refurbish the Metrodome? Vancouver did it for half the cost of the current Vikings stadium plan?

3. Why not ask local businesses to chip in? Dozens of local businesses put millions of dollars toward the land acquisition for the Metrodome. It’s time to re-up their commitment to NFL football, assuming it’s something they still value.

4. Why not ask fans to pay? Sen. Howe did this in last night’s tax committee hearing, but proposing a ~16% tax on Vikings related purchases (tickets, concessions, merchandise, naming rights, etc.). For Vikings super-fan, Larry Spooner, this might cause him to pay $140 in taxes on his tailgating lot spot. Do you really think Larry Spooner would stop tailgating over less than $12/month? Of course not. He may rather have his Vikings game day experience subsidized through regressive sales and gambling taxes, but surely he’d pay up if that’s what it takes to save subsidize the Vikings.

5. Should the public LOSE money to subsidize Zygi Wilf’s private business?

6. Can we please have someone other than Ted Mondale renegotiate a stadium financing package where the public wouldn’t actually lose money over the stadium’s lifetime?

Minnesota and Minneapolis deserve better. The current Vikings stadium bill is a bad deal for the state and city. NFL teams around the country have agreed to more equitable terms than this and Wilf surely would as well.

If the current Vikings stadium bill is the best Sen. Rosen and Ted Mondale have been able to negotiate this year, the bill should be voted down and the Vikings should try again next year.

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