Our Opinion: Stadium | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Our Opinion: Stadium

No general tax fund dollars

Posted: February 2, 2012 - 5:59pm

The Minnesota Vikings are a tremendous amenity for the Twin Cities and, even in the bad years, a rallying point of pride for the entire state.

That being said, we continue to oppose the use of any state general tax fund dollars to build a stadium for a wealthy NFL team owner. Minnesota has too many pressing needs to dole out money to a stadium that most outstate Minnesotans will never have the opportunity to visit.

Funding sources which might be appropriate include a user tax on the people who attend the games; a tax on those businesses that might profit from a stadium; or a tax imposed by the host city or county.

It’s almost comical to watch the gyrations politicians are going through as they wrestle with this thorny issue. There’s so little support for a stadium in Minneapolis that stadium boosters are trying to circumvent a requirement for a city referendum on a stadium deal. They know it will fail. If there’s so little advocacy for the stadium in the city which is the projected site how on earth can the Legislature expect outstate taxpayers to sit still for the use of general fund revenue?

Electronic pulltabs are now being touted as a possible revenue stream. Stadium supporters seem to accept it on faith when State Revenue Department officials say enough money could be generated by the pulltabs, even though those revenue estimates have varied significantly in the past.

There are two questions that aren’t being addressed. What happens if the gambling money falls short? Why would stadium funding go to the front of the line if the state creates a new revenue stream.

Nobody wants to see the Vikings move but the days of government footing the bill for pro sports stadiums are gone.