Minnesota’s House has passed a bill for a $975 million, taxpayer-subsidized stadium for the Vikings, a glimmer of hope for Vikings fans who were all but certain that their team would be playing in Los Angeles in the 2013 season.
The bill, which must now pass through the state Senate, transferred more of the cost burden on to the owners, raising their contribution to $532 million. The Viking’s VP had this to say about the increased contribution on the owners’ part:
Vikings vice president Lester Bagley, who has spent about a decade trying to get the team to this stage, said franchise owners will find it tough to stomach an amendment that would put the team on the hook for $105 million more.
“There’s time to work on it and get it fixed,” Bagley said. “I don’t want to take away from the moment. It was a great day.”
Maybe I really just don’t understand business or democracy, but why should the taxpayers be on the hook for even $1 of this new stadium? I know stadia are built using taxpayer dollars all time, but it has never made sense to me. The only people benefiting from the construction of the new stadium is the owner and, due to profit-sharing, the NFL. Admittedly sports teams are one of the few businesses where there is a significant nostalgic/emotional component for the consumer, but if you’re struggling to make ends meet, especially in this economy, why should a portion of your hard-earned money enabling the rich to get even richer, while you can’t even afford a ticket to the game? In the normal world, if a business-owner wants to expand his business, he or other investors must make the initial investment, not others who stand to gain nothing. The only argument one could make (and I am sure has been made for the last 10 years this has been going on) is that the new stadium will create and keep jobs in Minnesota. But how’d that turn out for them last summer?
Any tax-paying Vikings fans care to sound off in the comments?