Should public opposition to a taxpayer-financed Vikings stadium preclude building one?

Polls consistently show that a majority of Minnesotans oppose spending taxpayer funds on a new Vikings stadium. Even so, officials are pushing competing stadium plans for Minneapolis and Arden Hills, and the idea has bipartisan support among legislators and the governor. Today’s Question: Should public opposition to a taxpayer-financed Vikings stadium preclude building one?

  • Alison

    No. The Vikings should be allowed to build a stadium if they want to pay for it.

    Should public opposition to a taxpayer-financed Vikings stadium preclude building one on the taxpayer dime? Absolutely!

  • Audrey

    Yes. It’s an obscene idea, given the financial straits in which we all currently find ourselves.. Good lord, The Republicans current slogan is “Tighten your belts”; everyone becomes apoplectic at the mention of taxes; and the powers-that-be are pushing for a NEW FOOTBALL STADIUM??!! I can’t even get my mind around it, it’s so surreal…

  • Clark

    The vikings add $0 value to the economy as compared to public investment they are requesting. Public opinion should win on this one. Let them move to L.A..

  • Dan

    Legislators have the responsibility to make what they feel is the most responsible choice, and public opinion is only one input to consider. That’s how representative democracy ought to work.

    That said, it would be too bad to lose the Vikes, but public tax money has no appropriate place in today’s major league entertainment sports.

  • Iceman11

    Teams in other cities are paying for their own now. Only in flyover country are people still being conned into paying for these. The NFL is a $9 Billion a year business. It does not need a dime of public subsidies. And they aren’t getting any in L.A. either.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Since when is what should happen decisive for our legislature? And it’s getting worse lately as the plutocrats keep gaining more control. It’s the golden rule of government: those with the gold make the rules.

  • betsy

    Taxpayers should NOT pay for stadiums. Athletes, coaches, and sports affiliated CEO’s make more money than they deserve and should be made to spend their hard earned dollars on stadiums. I think it is shameful that ticket prices are not even affordable for the average Minnesotan- so exclusive events should really be financed exclusively.

  • John

    In a time where one (1) in seven (7) is receiving food stamps, national austerity is inevitable, baby boomers will likely loose most of any benefits they have paid into all of their lives, public money for a stadium to ‘save’ the Vikings is unacceptable.

    What is surprising to me is that Dayton, a Democrat, is open to public money to go to the wealthy. He pushes for taxing the rich, right? So isn’t there some inconsistency here?

    There is nothing wrong with the Metrodome, fix the roof and form a new team. Tell Ziggy to go home!

  • Eardley Ham

    No public money should be used for a private enterprise like the Vikings stadium until the state is operating with no budget shortage and our roads, schools, and safety-net programs are fixed and fully funded.

  • http://www.theradicalhousewife.com Shannon Drury

    If every child in Minneapolis were safely sheltered, well-fed, healthy, and appropriately educated, I would be in support of the Mayor’s plan for a new football stadium.

  • uptownZombie

    Yes. Public opposition should be taken into account, but we voted our representatives into office and they have the power to make those decisions, we do not. So, sucks to be us.

    If we do put money into it then we should get that same percentage out. So if we foot 60% of the bill then 60% of ALL money made by the Vikings (ticket sales, merch, …) as long as they are in the stadium should go directly to the state.

  • Bruce

    No! I have been a Viking fan as long as I can remember, but no public money should be used to fund a new stadium for the Vikings.

  • Alan

    Our tax dollars pay for just about everything which is why this outrage makes me chuckle a little. We help pay for the Guthrie and just about every other theatre in MN, pretty much any new major office building, MOA, oh yeah, and this very website! Many people would say governments have no business funding media. I know many of these consider themselves “non-profit”, but that is nothing but a tax code (tell me the U or hospitals are not big business). I’m not saying we should automatically pay for a new stadium. We have to get the right deal. What I am saying is: Are all of you so outraged when we are using tax dollars for quality of life things that you want?

  • steve

    no i dont think so not until we address all the social problems with mpls which is basically broke then perhaps we can fund a stadium!

    my comments mirror shannon drurys!

  • Linda

    I guess public opinion only matters when those in office do not listen and are removed in the next election cycle. This should apply to ALL elected officials.

  • Larry M.

    They shouldn’t just pin the costs on the county where the stadium is built. The whole state watches.

    PS. I’d rather have the money go elsewhere, and frankly I don’t like the stadiums downtown it just raises the costs for those who use the downtown for other purposes like the arts and nightlife.

  • James Ahler

    Of course. Is this a democratic republic or isn’t it? You’re just asking the same question in different terms.

  • Elijah the Tishbite

    No public funding for a temple to Footbaal! Stop worshiping Footbaal! Quit sacrificing our young men to Footbaal!

  • Lee_downtown-resident

    No public dollars should be spent, unless:

    If the city-county get a percent of the ownership (profits) it finances, then sure. Though let’s not forget our ‘Christian’ Compassionate values: eg, a 2008 County & Wilder Fdtn showed 3,000 homeless each night in Henn Co; 5,000 Mpls school children were identified as homeless; there are huge wait lists to get pre-K children into child-care, usage of food-shelves are at an all time high; Hennepin County Medical Center (rated one of the best for quality care in the US) runs a deficit; the State likely will decrease funding for the U’s research and tuition; the middle class is shrinking; many Mpls streets & its schools are deteriorating; LGA is likely to be cut…. I think we need a more fair revenue sharing if we citizens finance a stadium.

    And, the average at home game attendance last season was 63,775 only down by 400 from the average highest attendance in the early 2000s.

  • Craig

    The Vikings live elsewhere. They arrive for the season, collect their money, and—except for a small portion collected in tax—spend it in places like California and Florida, whose economies benefit. The employees of The U, MPR, high-tech firms, and the Guthrie spend their salaries here, in addition, they enrich the area by engaging their human capital in the community after their workday is done, all year round. People understand this difference, hence the public opposition.

  • Steve the Cynic

    To those of you who think the state/county/city should get a share of the “profits” a new football stadium would earn: Don’t be ridiculous! There will be no profits. If it were profitable, Ziggy would be able to get investors to fund it. It’s not. That’s why he wants a subsidy.

  • Philip

    Football sucks. There, I said it.

  • Jason

    Let’s see if I’ve got this right – the majority of the people oppose public funding, but the politicians are pushing for it. Hmm, I wonder who those politicians are actually serving?

    Some people appear to be miss-answering. I believe the majority are saying “Yes”, if the public opposes it then public funding should not be used for building a stadium.

  • las

    We need to stop viewing this as a “Vikings stadium”. The Vikings will use the stadium 10 days per year. The other 355 days, the stadium is used by the public, folks rent the space, etc. Just like we offer incentives for Ecolabs, Target, Lawson Software, we offer incentives and public participation and cooperation in the building of this stadium. The building of the staduium will create thousands of jobs. Building it in Arden HIlls will eliminate the largest superfund cleanup site in the COUNTRY. People need to understand that there is not a long line of developers eager to purchase and develop contaminated land that has sat empty for 30 years! The owners of the Vikings are eager not only to build the stadium in Arden Hills, but also to buy, clean up, develop, and pay taxes on the land surrounding it. We would be foolish to pass up this win/win deal!

  • Matthew

    Taxpayer opposition to the proposed Vikings stadium should definitely preclude it from happening. My only question is, why do so many Republican lawmakers support the idea of making me give money to a billionaire owner so he can use it to become even more rich? This is particularly troubling knowing that these same Republican lawmakers oppose living wages for teachers and government workers, and choose to cut essential services for the elderly, sick, and poor as a way of balancing the budget. These corrupt souls need to be voted out of office.

  • CHS

    Half of the comments here don’t even address the question, they simply state opposition to public funding. The question is whether or not the public opposition means that the representatives have to go with public opinion, or consider all factors and go with what they feel is in the best interest of their constituents and the state.

    I would be willing to bet that most people here firmly believed that the representatives were right to have gone against majority public opinion and passed Health Care Reform, but now that it’s an issue you don’t agree with, shame on them for not listening to public opinion.

    The representatives are right to do what’s best for the state, and whether you like them or not, professional sports DO add a significant amount to the economy and local revenues. Let’s just hope they are able to negotiate a deal that benefits everyone.

  • Charlie

    I just cannot understand why we are discussing this when the Republicans have not even presented a balanced budget to Governor Dayton. Why are we spending money to replace the Metrodome when evidently it’s going to be torn down anyway.

  • Susan

    Yes. Taxpayer opposition should preclude state subsidies. Art Rolnick makes a very strong case that children are the best ROI. A better investment for long term viability is to invest in better healthcare for children and families as well as better education funding.

  • Jeff

    Well, let’s see. The public polls show that the majority of Minnesotans do not want public money going to a new stadium but it seems that the politicians are going to push it through anyway. How does that square with Sunday liquor sales? There the polls showed the majority of people in MN favored Sunday liquor yet the legislators in committee blocked the bills progress. For the good of the people? And how about the constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage?

    As the Pioneer Press reported earlier this year, while the people of Minnesota regularly poll against same-sex marriage, they also show an unwillingness to codify a ban and by doing so add discrimination in the state’s constitution. Yet legislators are pushing that through too.

    Seems backwards to me. What the public wants, legislators block and what they don’t gets pushed through.

  • Chris

    Darn right if the public has an opposition building a stadium it should not be built with tax payer’s dollars. Not that our opinion counts for anything. We have already seen that the politicians know how to get around the public with the Twins Ball Park but we say that’s okay by buying tickets & supporting the stadium & the Twins. We have taught our politicians that they can do what they want & we will follow like sheep. Mark my words one way or another this will happen, you will pay for it, and you will be excited to go to the games & support the Vikings & the Twins They will bend you over & give it you in the rear & you will smile & cheer while they do it.

  • Craig

    There are people in the state desperate for vicarious feelings of power and victory, and willing to do anything to preserve them. That is sad. But fortunately, as polls show, they are in the minority. Many public relations professionals have been hired to portray this deal as an economic win/win. It is not. But fortunately, as polls show, the majority sees through these specious arguments.

    But the will of our prosperous, healthy, value oriented community will be thwarted if lawmakers are for sale to those who will benefit financially from the stadium.

  • kennedy

    No, deciding if/how to fund a stadium falls within our elected official’s duties. Public opinion does preclude them from doing their jobs.

    However, going against the will of the voters can be a liability come reelection time. Officials who rode in on the “reduce government” wave could have an especially tough time justifying a vote for this additional spending.

    Looks like many expect the votes gained with campaign contributions will more than offset the loss of support.

  • Jim Livesay

    No – unless the Viking owner and other investors pony up at least 90% of the initial cost and the 10% is repaid in some sort of use tax in short order. As someone who does not care for the Vikings one way or the other I find myself loathe to want to spend my STATE taxes on this with some vague promise of all the revenue it “may” bring into the state. Particularly when the GOP run state legislature is hell-bent on destroying program after program and decimating public education.

  • Bill

    My child’s school just cut staff and supplies (again) and may have to cut teachers. How can we even consider spending this kind of money for a building that will be used just a few weekends a year?

  • Devon

    NO WAY should taxpayers money be spent on this, & there are plenty of reasons stated above as to why not. I simply want to add another vote against

  • James

    The Vike-queens (and other pro teams) can go pound sand. If you want to play a GAME … then YOU pay for it.

    If one penny of MY tax money goes to the overpaid, drug using, wife beater, better than thou jocks and millionaire owners then that’s it I’m going to buy and island and leave the Land of 10,000 taxes.

    Oh, and for those that say “What out the money it will generate”… is say to you … refer first line.

    ∑DTOM

  • Ann Millikan

    As an East Side resident I am appalled. Our property taxes have quadrupled in the 7 years we’ve lived here. Next year we know we’ll be looking at even higher property taxes because of cuts to the city. After cutting education, healthcare, arts, and jobs, now they want us to pay for a stadium?! This is disgusting. More “privatize the gains and socialize the losses” governing. If they want a stadium it should be funded privately, not by tax payers.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    Have a referendum to find out! If the majority of voters want it, build it. If not, no public funding.

  • randax

    Thank you Mark Dayton!!

    This is dumb as he is.

    No taxpayer money for this site! The metrodome site would be cheaper since the transportation infrostructure alreay exists.

  • Jeff

    Yes! It is absurd to reduce the amount of state money going to schools and increase the amount of money going to build a new stadium. The loud voices of the well-paid lobbyists shouldn’t outweigh those of the tax-paying public.

  • http://www.twitter.com/leesejared Jared

    I would like to see a discussion focused on the question, Should public opposition to a taxpayer-financed Vikings stadium preclude building one? I believe the answer is no. There are many things that the government, as a whole, does for the people against the will of the people because it will be a good thing in the long term. This question should not be be focused on any person’s opinion on this particular stadium, but on the idea that the government sometimes needs to do things for the good of the community without the input of individuals.

  • JD

    Taxpayer opposition didn’t matter one whit to progressives/liberals during the debate surrounding the Affordable Care Act….why should it matter now? Spare us the false indignation, hypocrites.

    This is crony capitalism at its worst. Why should any private entity receive any government dollars? Where’s my $300 Million?

  • Linda

    Public opinion is what gets local candidates the vote that gets them elected. During the campaign process these elected officials promise to represent their constituents. Personally, I do not want a stadium for any sport. I’m in my 60’s and have experienced the cry to replace the old Met Stadium with a covered metrodome that would get more people to attend the games because weather would not be an issue. The Twins needed their new field because it would bring back the ‘open air’ feel of baseball the way it should be experienced. Thereby bringing in more fans. Come on Minnesota, can’t you tell when you are being conned? Public approval or opposition should be the ONLY deciding factor. Oh…and I wonder how many Minnesotans feel that they have been betrayed by their new Governor?

  • Steve the Cynic

    “Taxpayer opposition didn’t matter one whit to progressives/liberals during the debate surrounding the Affordable Care Act….why should it matter now? Spare us the false indignation, hypocrites.

    Not so, JD. Before 2009, a solid majority of the public were in favor of single payer, or at least a public option. It didn’t happen, because the plutocrats that run our health care “system” (so called) realized it would kill their golden goose. Between their campaign contributions and astro-turf fear-mongering and a president who compromised more than half way before the negotiations even started, they managed to dodge that bullet, and we’re still paying through the nose for a lower quality system than what the rest of the industrialized world has.

    Public financing of a stadium is just another case of our elected officials kowtowing to the plutocrat campaign donors. We’re in serious danger of losing our republic if we voters don’t wise up. Plutocrats want us to believe the lie that “big government” is more of a threat than they are. The truth is, the government is us, and the plutocrats are them. You want to see what happens when some organization becomes more powerful than the government? Go to Ciudad Juárez.

  • Kevin VC

    Sports fans do not understand the opposition.

    Of course they are ones who spend hundreds on this entertainment industry without anything produced useful to society. (Such is the nature of any entertainment, not complaining, just stating the obvious.)

    We have owners making millions on their own of these team, and players ON these teams making millions ‘playing’ these games. Serious money.

    But thats just is, its their ‘play thing’.

    Its not like they do not have the money when clearly they do.

    Heck I would even open up the statium ownership to the Players if they want to chip in.

    But we have a crisis that was avoidable if Tim Pawlenty actually did his job and balanced the budget. And did not displace taxes to local cities as property tax increases….

    We under this situation CAN not seriously consider a stadium when we have a state legislative government arguing constitutional amendments rather then their job of MAKING jobs and dealing with the budget.

    We have a society too addicted to distraction.

    Keep the eye on the ball, do the job that the people put their faith in their leaders doing.

    If not its clear not only will there be no stadium, but a new legislative government.

    Its a unfortunate side effect that the stadium and vikings are being attacked for the lame leaders, but until we put people in charge who KNOW whats needing done we can not afford it.

    I see no reason the OWNERS can not fork over ALL the money for one. Other them whiny greed.

  • Lauren

    As a teacher at a charter school in St. Paul I am horrified by the thought that one penny of state money should support millionares playing games when our school paid $10,000 in interest for loans required because of the school funding holdback required to balance the budget. But worse than that is the disregard for the voice of the people who overwhelmingly do not want to spend state money this way. A previous comment regarding the need for our leaders to do what is good for us smacks of a dangerous paternalism.

  • Thomas Shaw

    No, so long as Ziggy & Co. pay for the whole thing and I mean the WHOLE thing. The state should not be giving him any money. Ever. Period.

  • JD

    Like I said, Steve, during the debate surrounding the Affordable Care Act, taxpayer opposition to the proposed legislation didn’t matter at all to liberals/progressives who deemed it in our “best interest,” albeit unconstitutional. When the debate began in earnest, with democrats controlling both chambers and the presidency, people actually faced the reality of what a national health care system would mean to them and their families, and they turned against it vehemently. But it didn’t matter did it?

    You and I can agree that this stadium deal is wrong. I from the perspective that the government has no business building publicly funded private playgrounds. You from a different perspective, I’m sure. But let’s not pretend that public opposition matters at all when it comes to liberals/progressives or politicians in general doing whatever they want to do when they feel it is in the public’s “best interest.”

    The so called plutocrats (a term you are guilty of overusing, by the way) whom you decry, for all their wealth and influence, can only cast one vote each, just like the rest of us. The rich are just as free as the poor or anyone else to petition their government for redress of their grievances. You are correct, the government is us, but aren’t they also part of us? Just because a citizen or group expresses a view that there are limits to the size and scope of government influence in our individual lives, that somehow gives you license to frame the argument in a fallacious us vs. them paradigm?

    Ciudad Juárez? That situation is also an example of the government acting in our “best interest” only to create a situation worse than the one it foolishly attempts (and fails) to prevent. Would Ciudad Juárez even be a part of our political vernacular if it weren’t for the “war on drugs?” The government, the us, feels it is justified in restricting what fully grown adults in a free society can and cannot put in their bodies if they so choose. Unwittingly, the government is creating a black market so lucrative that bandits on both sides of the border are willing to kill innocent people by the hundreds to maintain control of their smuggling routes to the US. If the government stuck to what it is proper and appropriate for it to do—that is, keeping the peace both domestically through police and internationally via the military, and providing a free and fair system of courts to settle our conflicts—and NOT overstepping its bounds into our personal lives, Ciudad Juárez might not be caught in the crosshairs of a silly and unjust “war.”

  • Steve the Cynic

    Like I said, JD, you’re misrepresenting the facts. There was no groundswell of opposition to health care reform, until the uber-rich folks who stood to lose their cash cows started whipping up a frenzy with their astroturf campaign of lies and fear-mongering, getting people worked up about things that were not even remotely part of any proposal (e.g., “death panels”) and mischaracterizing what was a originally a Republican idea, proposed first as an alternative to “Hillarycare” and enacted in Massachussetts under Mitt Romney, as “socialized medicine.” What people were opposing was not what was in the reform that passed. I continue to be astonished at how many folks actually believe that the Affordable Care Act gave us socialized medicine. That widespread a misunderstanding doesn’t happen by accident.

    Plutocrats have way more power than the number of votes they can cast, because they can use their money to skew the debate (and even more so now since the abominable “Citizens United” decision). They fund lie factories such as the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, and Americans for Prosperity. Then they manipulate the media to repeat their lies often enough that enough people believe them and vote against their own interests.

    But this question isn’t about health care. It’s about that stadium proposal. The only folks who are really in favor of public funding for a football stadium are the ones who are going to get richer from it, and those who believe the lie that it will be “good for the economy.” That may be enough to support to make it happen, sad to say.

    Regarding Ciudad Juárez, I gave it as an extreme example of what can happen when an organization (in that case, a drug cartel) becomes more powerful than the government. How it got to be that way is irrelevant to my point, but if you’re arguing that weed should be legalized, you’ll get no objection from me.

    And I don’t think I’m overusing the word plutocrat. I think everyone else is underusing it.

  • MA

    I am shocked and appalled that this legislature would put a sports activity for the rich ahead of the health, welfare and education of Minnesotans. I could care less if Minnesota lost the Vikings team. Ziggy can afford to build his stadium elsewhere he has done nothing for this state. This legislature also has placed language in their budget bill to completely dismantle or as they call it ‘sunset’ the department of health, the department of human services, the department of public safety by June 30, 2012 then the rest of the state departments by June 30, 2013. What does that tell you folks – they want big business to run this state – which brings us back to the 1930’s. Minnesota’s Department of Health is the go to agency of the United States of America because it is able to isolate the cause of illnesses – such as ecoli in the spinach from California due to the big business mass production food farms saturating their plants with bacteria infected water. These ‘freshman’ GOP legislators are so scary and so close to communistic that citizens of Minnesota should take notice rather than slink back into ambivalence. The nay sayers that call names of “liberal” and spout half-truths and nay say facts are too used to being lead around by their noses like the Jimmy Jones cult. I agree with poster Steve the Cynic – you hit the nail on the head. Thank you.

    The younger generation that choose not to listen to spoon fed sound bites and the spin doctor’s play on words will eventually be able to overwhelm the ‘good ole boys’ mentality – those that want things back the way they were in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Um, thanks for the affirmation, MA. You might want to be more careful in your rhetoric, though. Communistic is not a synonym for totalitarian. Communism is a particular kind of totalitarianism based on the idea that private property should not exist and everything should be owned communally. The kind of totalitariansim that lurks at the extreme right wing is the exact opposite: property rights are absolute, which means that whoever has the most wealth gets to be the economic bully who makes everyone else submit to their rule.

  • Greg

    In response to the question, “Should public opposition to a taxpayer-financed Vikings stadium preclude building one?”, the answer should definitely be YES.

    The economics that are laid out by hired consultants generally skew towards the interests of the team owners. Check out the magazine “The Nation” website with “Stadium Status: Why Are Taxpayers Funding Billionaires’ Stadiums?”

    We have much more important things to fund at the State and County level here in Minnesota. Let’s get this creative in finding revenues for education, health, public safety….