Shocker: Taxpayers May Have To Bail Out Vikings Stadium Building Plan

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Subsidies for professional sports venues has to be one of the most ludicrous things in politics. Professional sports are hugely profitable enterprises, where the teams are owned by billionaires and staffed with millionaires, so the idea that there’s a need to subsidize the stadiums and arenas where these people conduct their business is absurd.

Yet, time and again, taxpayers get duped into footing the bill by politicians playing on team loyalties and team owners threatening to take their franchises elsewhere. The latest group of victims are Minnesota taxpayers who according to the Associated Press may be on the hook to bail out the new stadium for the Vikings after a scheme to fund it through online pull-tab gambling flopped.

Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter encountered sharp questions Monday from lawmakers who are worried that general tax dollars will be needed to compensate for poor results from expanded gambling. Finance officials said last week that the electronic pull-tabs are producing only a tiny fraction of anticipated revenue to pay off future state debt on the stadium.

Last year’s stadium law gives Schowalter power to initiate a sport-themed lottery game and impose a luxury suite tax to make up for shortages in e-pull tab revenue.

It is, in a word, grotesque to witness an attempt to fund subsidies for billionaires and millionaires at the expense of lower-income taxpayers who are by far the largest demographic in the customer base for state-run gambling operations. But it’s even worse to think that Minnesota taxpayers at large could be forced to make up the shortfall.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • RCND

    Gee, now there’s a really big surprise

  • yy4u2

    If you can get duped into thinking Franken is anything but a comedian, then this comes as no surprise. Furthermore, Viking’s fans always get duped that they might have a winning team.

    • noblindersonme

      Vikings record last year was 10-6 , a winning team by most intelligent intrepretations.!

      • yy4u2

        The NFL title appears to be as elusive as common sense over there. You may not have blinders on, yet you appear to look through a much different set of glasses.

      • mickey_moussaoui

        choke kings

    • Simon

      One minor correction, if I may: Franken is a washed up comedian. And he wasn’t that funny during his comedic career.

  • noblindersonme

    In CONSERVATIVE red state Texas they seemed to have little problem having the taxpayers pony up the bill for that monstrosity of a stadium for the Cowboys! What ‘s the moral there ? Indignation over taxing the building of a Taj Mahal for super rich is OK ! if the citizens are republican?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I don’t care if it’s done by Republicans or Democrats, it’s wrong.

    • nimrod

      The city of Arlington approved the sales and lodging tax to provide $325 million of the Cowboy Stadium cost. The state of Texas had nothing to do with it. Jerry Jones agreed to cover all unforeseen costs. Public/ Private partnerships are bad, but I much prefer the Cowboy deal over the Minnesota general fund picking up the Viking stadium shortfalls. I don’t think taxpayers beyond Arlington will be paying for the Cowboy stadium, but those in Moorhead will be paying for the Vikings stadium.

    • JoeMN

      It was the minority of Conservatives in MN who always knew those costs and gaming income projections were bogus.

      They always underestimate costs, and overestimate revenues.
      This aria is owned by liberals. Voters here literally EXPECT them to whisper white lies in their ears.

      Yet the Republicans are still confused as to why they are now sitting at home with their bean salad, watching Gomer Pyle reruns

    • camsaure

      Oh, Here comes the liberal “he did it too” argument again.

  • Ray Seltz

    The legislature has been a mess in St. Paul for years. The Democrats don’t have a problem with the immorality of taxing anything and everything. The Republicans don’t seem to have a problem with the immorality of screwing fellow staff members.

  • noblindersonme

    I googled ‘Texas stadium’ . Arlington taxpayers on the hook for 65 milion( per year!) for 29 years ! Yep I am sure just those damn liberals pushed that through!

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      So, it’s ok because they do it in Texas?

      Or maybe it’s wrong because it’s, you know, wrong and doesn’t really have anything to do with partisan politics.

  • sbark

    I’m surprised……because the Vikings can always build a stadium cheaper than any other NFL team……its one of the few teams that does not need a trophy room, and if they ever did, they could add on a lean- to shack.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    Unfortunately a lot of voters think that government should build a stadium. They will blame their local politicians if the sports team moves. Sadly, this is a shortcoming that cuts across party lines.

  • fredlave

    What’s the problem. Didn’t we bailout the banks, etc., recently. And anyhow, families will only spend the money they should pay in extra taxes to buy food and cloths for their children. Better Dayton and Franken get it and fight the childhood obesity epidemic.

  • devilschild

    Ford Field was built for $556 million…in 2013 dollars. The Vikings Stadium is nearly double that amount. If I were them…I would be cutting out a few luxuries while they still have the chance.

  • DelawareBeachHouse

    Same dynamic going on with the movie industry. Subsidies for the wealthy and the product goes in the tank …

    http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/164371/

    New Zealand is pretty, though.

  • cylde

    Jesse Ventura fought that stadium, but he was an independent and had to battle both the major parties. It was not approved on his watch.

  • jimmypop

    fairly easy to prove how much this stadium would bring to the economy.

    take the fargobox…. the fools that were against it thought of it as a stadium for the bison and nothing more. so what if it was? that whole area of town went from empty dirt lots to boom town. if the box itself lost millions a year, it would still be worth it in terms of sales tax generated.

    have the vikes or anyone ever done a hard cost of what this new building (in lieu of the existing dome) would bring to the area? how much do players and staff pay in income tax alone? should be easy to figure that one out.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    Here, allow me to display the Viking’s Super Bowl Trophy case>>>> [ - ].

  • mickey_moussaoui

    The Packer’s fans (owners) rebuilt Lambeau Field (the holy land & Mecca of football) for $250 million dollars with a half cent sales tax in one Wisconsin county. But then again we have a history to represent.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    .America’s Team

  • bruce hingst

    I said from the beginning on talk radio and the like…they could never afford this stadium…HMMM think I will go buy silver bars and a new truck…betting in 3 years the silver will have paid off enough to pay for the truck…REALLY?…Idiots!!! Lanning and every liberal bum who voted for this…go broke MN you truly deserve it

  • Yogibare

    A bit short of the glowing projections??? Surprise, surprise !
    The taxpayers can make up the shortfall and pay for much of the stadium; the franchise owners will take the profits. Isn’t that how it always works?

  • Rick Olson

    Here in North Dakota, of course we don’t have a dog in this fight. I think they’ll come up with a plan to cover the shortfall. Could this snafu scuttle the project altogether? Not likely. No one wants to lose the Vikings on their watch. Not the governor not nobody.

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