|Minnesota has a new baseball stadium,|
but a new NFL playground appears
It's my guess that the governor's efforts to concoct a passable stadium bill are doomed, that there are simply too many legislators opposed to (a) any broad-based taxes for any purpose; (b) subsidies for professional sports; and-or (c) expansion of gambling.
On a purely personal level, it makes no difference to me if the Vikings are in Arden Hills, Minneapolis or Los Angeles; I have trouble staying awake for the entirety of any NFL telecast. I recognize that this is a minority view among sports fans. It's not the first time I've been out of step with the public, and it won't be the last.
But I do think the state will be a lesser place without the Vikings. And as one who lost sleep at times over the possibility that the Twins would leave over their stadium desires, I feel for those who love the Purple and would be crushed if they depart.
A few observations about the current debate:
- It intrigues me that -- there may be exceptions, but I don't know of any -- that football-only stadiums cost vastly more than baseball-only ones. The Arden Hills plan to which the Vikings currently cling is put at $1.1 billion; Target Field cost (including financing and infrastructure) $522 million.
- It's difficult to justify public subsidies for the jobs created by a stadium, but if they can be justified, it would seem a lot easier to justify it for a baseball stadium's 80-plus games than for a football stadium's 10.
- My opinion is that -- whether it be for public works projects or anything else -- broad-based, open and obvious taxes are vastly preferable to gimmickry financing, such as expanded gambling.
- The Target Field legislation was not widely popular at the time, yet I know of no public official who lost an election over it. I suspect the same would be true if the Legislature passed a Vikings stadium bill with open and obvious financing.
- I further believe that a serious effort to use the Legacy fund to pay for a stadium would, in fact, be political suicide for its proponents.
- If a stadium bill is passed, I predict it will be for the Metrodome site, which figures to be less expensive than the others and comes with the transportation infrastructure already in place. That is also the site that least interests the Vikings ownership, because they would have practically zero control over nearby development.