Monday, March 5, 2012

Minnesota Agrees to Pay Over One Half Billion $ For Football Stadium for Mega Wealthy Team Owner

Teachers Fired Earlier This Year; Homeless, Indigent, Disabled and Mentally Ill All Ecstatic Agreement was Reached

Minnesota is a wonderful state.  The countryside is dotted with lakes, the people polite, hard working and hospitable and the politics sensible, or rather they used to be.  But in 2002 the state elected a Republican Governor, who left the state 8 years later with a multi-billion dollar deficit.  Even worse, in 2010 the voters put Republicans in control of the legislature, and a weak Democrat in the Governor’s mansion.

The resulting budget impasse led to a shutdown of non-essential state services this past summer, until the Governor caved and allowed massive cuts in social programs and education rather than force the legislature to enact slightly higher taxes on the wealthy.  But this was not the real issue in Minnesota, the real issue was how to build a stadium for their pro football team, or more importantly, how to divert critical public monies to finance that stadium.

Now at last there is agreement in Minnesota on the state’s contribution to building the stadium.  The state’s tab, $500 million and counting. 

A $975 million stadium on the Metrodome site could open as early as the 2016 season, but only if Dayton and other backers can persuade legislators to vote for a $398 million state subsidy and get council members to agree to the diversion of $150 million in hospitality taxes without going to a referendum.

Okay, let’s take a look at what is said in the above paragraph.  First of all the state must provide a $398 million subsidy, which it turns out is coming from a new lottery type game.

The state plans to issue bonds for its share of stadium costs and pay them off with gambling profits from electronic pulltabs. Legislators must change the law to allow bars and restaurants to operate handheld gambling devices.

Yes, you are reading that correctly.  The state is going to not only introduce more gambling into the state, but they are going to use the state’s share of revenues to build a football stadium for a very wealthy team owner.  But since the state is coming up with the majority of the costs doesn’t that mean it will get a lot of non-ticket revenue from the stadium?  Yeah, right.

The Vikings would keep all revenue from NFL events, including concessions and club seat and suite revenue. It also would get the money from naming rights and advertising on the stadium site.

And yes, the $150 million is going to be “diverted”, although no one states whose funds are going to be cut, or how they are going to be made up.  That’s just a detail for those awful educators and people who need government assistance to worry about.

But notice the real news here, the legislature and city council has to get the funding approved without going to the voters for approval.  Why not, well one can only assume that if the voters were given a vote they would almost certainly not approve a gift of $550 million to one of the wealthiest citizens of the state.  So, let’s make sure they don’t vote.

The Democratic Governor of the state is very wealthy himself, and obviously he wants to be able to attend the games in style.  As for the millions of citizens who will fund the stadium, but be unable to afford the ticket prices, well, if they didn’t want the stadium they should have voted NO in the referendum.  Oh wait . .

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