The Stadium Financing is unfair

web_viking_helmetBY DAVID TILSEN

People have asked me a lot over the summer why I am trying to stop the new Vikings stadium. I have a few stock answers. One is that I have no objection to a new stadium, I just don’t think I should be forced to pay for it. Other times I ask the questioner if they are a Minneapolis taxpayer. Seven out of 10 times, the answer is no. Then I tell them that they should thank us: thank us for the new Twins stadium, thank us for the Timberwolves arena, they should then thank us for the 40 years of the current stadium.
I then ask them why I should be asked to pay for another one. As they think about this, I point out that twice in the last 40 years I have worked for, and the Minneapolis taxpayers have passed, additions to our city home rule charter that would require approval by the voters before we are taxed again for another sports venue. We are not an ATM for the state’s sports fans.
And why do we need a new stadium anyway? Because the owner of the Vikings wants to have more luxury boxes, more vendors and more amenities to bring profit. Now profit is OK with me; I have owned more than one business, and profit is necessary to meet payroll and keep the doors open. I just don’t want to subsidize this billionaire who is putting no money into the project and is going to get richer on the backs of the city taxpayers. That’s right, no money. His share is being paid by the naming rights, the seat licenses and a forgivable loan from the NFL. Nothing from his personal or corporate profits.
And this is not a nice man, he is sleazy. A New Jersey judge has called him an evil racketeer. I mean, come on, this guy is sleazy by NEW JERSEY standards.
“But we need professional football!” you [he] cry, “Don’t take that away.” I am not taking anything away, I just don’t want to be forced to pay for it. I will purchase tickets if I want to see a game, even pay seat licenses if they are reasonable, but taxes are with the threat of the law—this is not fair.
This 1.2 billion dollar boondoggle is among the most expensive and by far the most publicly funded stadium ever built. The working people should not be forced to pay for the profit of sleazy billionaire racketeers. I am offended, I am angry, and I will not shut up about it.
Besides, football is on its way out. The lease on the stadium is for 30 years, but long before that football will have gone the way of cock fights and local boxing cards. The research is undeniable that it is too dangerous to be played, at the high school, collegiate or professional level. The Vikings will not be here for 30 years to pay their lease, You want to bet your schools, parks, streets, fire and police salaries on it? Not me.
So, yes, I will oppose Minneapolis paying for this new stadium. I will raise every legal issue I can to protect the viability of my city and its tax base. I love it here, and I will fight to keep the things I love.

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