A Pro Football Team in
Minnesota is Like a Gold Mine – Team Gets
Gold, Residents Get Shaft
The long drawn out saga of whether or not the state of
would turn over for or five hundred million dollars to the billionaire Minnesota Vikings
football team for a new stadium is over.
state agreed to do just that.
"We delivered," said a triumphant Sen. Julie Rosen, the stadium bill's sponsor, as purple-clad, horn-wearing fans cheered wildly from the gallery overhead. "We are going to have a first-class stadium we can all be very, very proud of."
Well ‘all be proud of’ may not include the thousands of children whose education will be harmed by diverting scarce public resources to building a football stadium. And the elderly who will be denied public services they need to improve their lives may not feel so proud. The disabled probably won’t be dancing in the streets either, not because they cannot dance but because they will spend their time wandering how a state that shut down its government last summer rather than raise taxes on wealthy people to balance the budget has the money for a new football stadium.
It would be piling on to note that not only is the state of Minnesota delivering a totally unnecessary subsidy to one of its wealthiest residents, it is in part doing so by expanding gambling. It appears the days when government regarded gambling as a public problem and worked to discourage rather than encourage it are over.
And not content with just handing out a public subsidy to a private sports team, the deal allows government to spend money on another sports arena.
Negotiators retained a much-criticized expansion of charitable gambling to pay the state's $348 million contribution.
million share is unchanged, but the city now can use excess sales tax money to
renovate its aging . Target
And in a last minute negotiation, being last minute so that public opinion could not be galvanized or play a role the state gave the Vikings a nice ‘stadium warming gift’.
Legislators also brought back a provision that gives the Vikings exclusive rights to recruit a professional soccer team to the state,
Yeah, just a little thank you gift to the team for accepting all that state money.
But not to fear, as the legislation session in
Minnesota came to a
close the compassionate members did other things.
The stadium bill was not the only source of drama in the final hours.
Overnight, the Senate also passed a $46 million package of business tax breaks.
just to show that they were concerned about someone else getting state largesse other than the Vikings.