The eye-catching videos of snow cascading from the roof into the end zone of Mall of America Field at the Metrodome were great visuals, but they didn’t change any of arguments in the debate about public funding for a new Vikings stadium.
Yes, we want the Vikings to stay in Minnesota. However, the state government’s stark financial mess precludes the use of any general fund money to assist the Viking owners. If legislators and Viking owners can concoct a scheme in which new gambling money and taxes generated by Viking customers are used to fund a stadium, that would be legislation that might make sense.
The fact that the Vikings are nearing the end of their lease and have made no substantive plans for where the team will play after 2011 is not the fault of Minnesota’s taxpayers. The Vikings may be beloved in Minnesota but unlike the University of Minnesota’s football team, they aren’t tied down here. There’s nothing to stop the Vikings from obtaining state money to build a stadium and then bolting for California at the conclusion of a 10- or 15-year lease.
The state of Minnesota has too many pressing needs right now to be overly generous to a very profitable NFL team.