Should the new soccer stadium be built with help from the state?

Investors Bob Pohlad, left, Wendy Carlson Nelson, far right, and Bill McGuire joined MLS Soccer Commissioner Don Garber at an announcement at Target Field in Minneapolis, Friday, March 25, 2015. McGuire’s current team, Minnesota United, will play for two more years as a minor league team, then join the 24-team MLS roster in 2017 or 2018. Tim Nelson | MPR News

“The owners of the Minnesota United soccer club are asking state officials for tax breaks to help build a new stadium in downtown Minneapolis,” writes MPR News reporter Tom Scheck.

Gov. Mark Dayton said the team is asking for a property tax exemption along with a sales tax exemption for construction materials. The sales tax break, he said, could cost as much as $3 million.

Today’s Question: Should the new soccer stadium be built with help from the state?

  • Larry Sanderson

    yes! Yes! YES! I believe everyone in the state with an income over $150,000 should be taxed an additional 10% to pay for this rich man’s folly.

    • Jamison S.

      Although I appreciate the sentiment, let’s keep in mind that what they’re asking for is not a subsidy, but a tax break. This is money that the State wouldn’t be getting anyway, since there would be no construction project to tax. If the stadium doesn’t get built the State still doesn’t get $3 million. If it gets built, the State doesn’t get $3 million with this deal. It’s money that’s not there to begin with.

      These “rich men” (one of them is a woman by the way) are shelling out $250 million of their own money to bring development to this area of Downtown Minneapolis. Even as a liberal tax payer I have no issue with this deal.

      • Larry Sanderson

        They’re asking for a subsidy. They just want it to look pretty and be easier to sell.

        • Jamison S.

          Might want to look up the definition of a subsidy… here, I’ll do it for you: “money that is paid usually by a government to keep the price of a product or service low or to help a business or organization to continue to function”

          There is no money being paid here. Zero. You can’t have a subsidy if there is no money being given.

          • Larry Sanderson

            OK, let’s just call it blackmail then.

      • John Dilligaf

        The same could be said for ANY business that chooses to locate themselves in Minnesota. Why is this one different?

    • Pearly

      150k…. An additional 10%….. To pay for soccer.
      Hey boss thanks for the raise but only bump me up to 149
      I will keep more than a bump to 150.

  • Jamison S.

    A $3 million dollar tax break barely constitutes ‘help’ when you compare it to what other sports teams have been given, as well as major corporations in the state. Just last week Arctic Cat asked for a $2.2 million dollar tax break to stay in Minnesota. What this soccer team is asking for is miniscule compared to the fact that they’re building the stadium out of their own pockets.

    • Dave M

      Seeing as how $3m is “miniscule” then the $4k I owe in property tax is infinitesimal. Gimme.

  • Sue de Nim

    No, except for the precedent. Soccer (true football) is much less undeserving of public support than American football, and since the Vikings stadium is getting so much public funding, the arguments against a small tax break and some infrastructure development to help with a soccer stadium ring a little hollow.

  • bob hicks

    The monied interests involved are well able to pay the full freight, and should.

  • KTN

    Well there must be some stadium design we’re missing here in the Twin Cities, so a little welfare to help McGuire and pals will go a long way in achieving the goal of most stadiums per capita.

  • PaulJ

    If the stadium host games anything like the Kicks’, they are going to need help from the cops.

  • Sure, why not, $3 million seems like pocket change since it’s money that doesn’t yet exist. What I would like to see is a time limit on the property tax exemption. Give them something like 5yrs exempt then they need to pony up the same as everyone else who owns property.

  • Ulysses Tennyson

    Yes, the state of Sao Paulo. And I demand a world-class Sumo-wrestling facility for St.Paul in the vacant lot across from Fuji Ya and the blighted block adjacent to it across Cedar Street. Meanwhile I’ll be practicing my Hurling.

    • Ulysses Tennyson

      Could someone ask Bob if he’s got an extra barf bag? He’s not talking to me.

  • John Dilligaf

    I argued against public funding for the baseball stadium, I argued against public funding for the football stadium. This is another private enterprise looking for a handout from the taxpayers. Just say no.

    • Ulysses Tennyson

      No. I mean yes, I will say no. For all the good it does. Like “plea”-ing into the wind.

      An institutionalized form of mass hysteria, and come to think of it an institution is exactly where the Wilfs and their ilk belong.

      • Guest

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        ,

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        • Ulysses Tennyson

          Another sad case of a rabid soccer fan gone totally barking. Absolutely delusional and completely irreversible except by a Ukrainian victory in the 2018 World Cup matches.

    • Guest

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  • Lisa K

    Help from the state? No. Fortunately, the plan is for this stadium to be 100% privately financed. A PRIVATELY-FUNDED STADIUM IN MINNESOTA??? Goodness. It’s such an outrageous idea that we scarcely know what to do with it.

    Tax incentives are fairly commonplace for large companies and building projects. Minnesota offers all kinds of tax breaks for certain businesses and behaviors, from tax breaks to draw (or keep) new companies to curious tax credits for things like R&D. A tax break on supplies to build a privately-funded hundred-plus million dollar stadium is a pittance.

  • Ulysses Tennyson

    Hey, I’ve got a question of my own. Today MPR runs two adjacent new stories about two separate influenza epizootics. So when does MPR address a public health issue more serious and long-term than how to thwart the bugs that might attack you after you shoot that turkey? Like how Worobey, et al. finally unraveled the real story of the 1918 H1N1 pandemic in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last April and what it all had to do with avian flu viruses and how they jumped back and forth among birds and large mammals like pigs, horses and people. Yeah, THAT pandemic, the most lethal event in human history. Or are you guys only interested in small-sample studies done at UND? We can talk about one of those if you like. There are some interesting things being published by other social scientists about one of them.

  • Could cost $3 million of the money that won’t otherwise get spent, so the state looses nothing. It just doesn’t profit from soccer. I kind of hope it gets scuttled because soccer can’t get a tax break. I think Minnesota is too xenophobic for soccer anyway.

    • Starkie

      Yeah, maybe you are right. MN has a ways to go in the worldly dept.

      • Ulysses Tennyson

        Tell that to all the Somali, Hmong, and Burmese refugees who have been welcomed here. Tell it to all the Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans who have made it their home. Tell it to all the Ukrainians, Russians and Belarussians you never notice because you never talk to anyone on the street or on the light rail and they look just like other Europeans. Tell me all you know about Minnesotans being unworldly and xenophobic (compared to who, exactly?) and I’ll tell you you don’t know what you’re talking about. This is not about people not liking soccer or people from other parts of the world- that’s just a cheap and easy shot to highlight your own presumed greater level of tolerance and enlightenment- it’s about overkill and overreach on the part of promoters of spectator sports. Like I said, build me a Sumo Stadium and I’ll be your friend for life.

        • http://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/01/17/civil-rights-report

          http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2004/09/20_olsond_gapcost/

          Hate to break it to you, but Minnesota isn’t exactly the epitome of racial and ethnic tolerance. Also, when a minor league baseball stadium gets millions of public money and a soccer stadium being built in a crappy part of town can’t get a tax break, I’m calling shenanigans.

          Corporations get sweeter deals than this all the time to develop run down areas or to create jobs. http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/news/2015/04/10/arctic-cat-wants-a-tax-break-to-keep-workers-in.html

          • Ulysses Tennyson

            I don’t think you’re hearing me, WellSpoken. What are you comparing MN to exactly? Where is your evidence that there are “shenanigans” and not, as I said, overkill? You are not reflecting, merely providing reflexive and snobbish cliches. I would be happy if none of these stadiums had been built. If people like sports so much they should get off their fat butts and play them. So you might not get your soccer stadium. Boo Hoo. So now it must be because Minnesotans are intolerant. I gave examples. Where are yours? I hate to break it to YOU, but Americans in general are not interested in soccer. So indulge your bloody-mindedness some more and call them racist for it. Self-righteous prig.

          • Ulysses Tennyson

            The fact that there is such a high relative employment gap between African-Americans and other immigrant groups has largely to do with the fact that so many come from backgrounds such as the Deep South and the south side of Chicago where the tradition of valuing formal education has not been developed to the same extent as it has among such groups as the Germans, Irish, Jews, and Scandinavians. African-Americans have been forced by the GENERAL racism in this country to find other means of educating themselves and not necessarily means that lead to middle-class prosperity and “respectability”. Further, the educational and employment bar is so much higher here that the differences stand out more than they do in, say, the South where the entire population tends to be undereducated and underemployed. So, again, I’m real sorry everybody is not getting aboard your stadium train but to give the idea its full due please provide another link that will provide details as to how many high wage year round jobs such as ArticCat provides can be expected from your proposed spectator sport venue.

          • Ulysses Tennyson

            As for First Nations people, whose legal rights to ownership of much of the State retain much of much of their validity (in my opinion), many of the above arguments would apply in their case as well, with the historical use of “white” education as a means of cultural genocide providing an additional reason for them to be disillusioned with and distrustful of all such programs.

          • Ulysses Tennyson

            MN is consistently ranked among the least racist states in America and you, TrashTalkinMan, are a cherry-picking used race card dealer.

          • Ulysses Tennyson

            When I was first taken to enroll in first grade I wasn’t allowed to because of my race. Such a thing would have been would have been illegal and completely inconceivable in MN at the time. You don’t know what racism is.

          • Such colorful insults. You can explain away the numbers all you like, but until they change, I will be unconvinced. There is active racism and passive racism, passive racism appears to be pervasive in Minnesota. An internet bully is not going to change my mind. I hope you find a healthy outlet for all that anger before it hurts someone.

          • Ulysses Tennyson

            The fact that you can provide no documentation whatsoever that racism is pervasive in Minnesota but only repeat the same tired allegations ad nauseum insults the intelligence of every reader. You have answered none of my substantive points or provided any information from anyone anywhere that MN is anything but a leader in race relations, a position it has held since the time of Dred Scott and the battles of the Civil War. Because the Mayor of Minneapolis does not wish to provide tax-free status for a sports stadium you support you attempt to paint yourself as somehow a victim of racial prejudice (I’m still trying to work out the logic of that) and fling mud instead of conducting a rational discussion. And now, given the opportunity to rebut my arguments you choose to simply double down and add rocks to your argument as well as mud. Please help me out here. If everyone opposed to your subsidized stadium is a racist does that make Betsy Hodges the top racist in this “pervasively” racist state? And because I countered your blanket condemnation of the entire State as racist and called you a trash talker I must be an “internet bully”, making you doubly a victim, I guess. My heart breaks for you, poor WellSpokenMan. You ARE so terribly ill-used. But maybe you should start dealing with your own anger issues and your tendency to fall back on cheap stereotypes and gratuitous slanders when your arguments won’t stand up. And certainly before you start issuing advice to others. Of course you won’t be convinced. “The education gap in the Twin Cities is the result of racism, pure and simple, and therefore Minnesota is racist and therefore they won’t give my stadium tax breaks. Oh and anyone who disagrees is bullying me.” Well spoken, WellSpokenMan. Why should you even bother to listen? You’ve said it all.

          • WellSpokenMan

            You are a bully because you are using personal insults, not because you disagree with me. Whether or not you actually do hurt my feelings, your intent is clear. I said that I think Minnesota is xenophobic because I think it is. No that doesn’t mean that everyone here is racist. That meant that judged against other parts of the country, MN is not fairing very well. This bizarre sense on nationalism (stateism?) that comes up whenever somebody insults the state does not help in countering that opinion.

            I do think that it is probably coloring the debate somewhat about the stadium. I’ve never claimed that I was a victim of racial prejudice. I said that I don’t think soccer is a good fit for MN. Minnesota does a number of things very well, but people here, in my experience, aren’t particulary friendly to people from Wisconsin or Illinois, let alone other countries. The number of snide things I’ve heard said by otherwise respectable people about the Somali community in particular is disgusting. There are a lot of Somali and Mexican soccer fans in the area that would enjoy that stadium. They seem to being given a lot less of a voice than the fans of the billion dollar monstrosity on the other side of town. You are arguing past me here, attacking some image in your head. You’ve made some good points, and you seem like a fairly intelligent person, but your manner is so aggressive that it is getting in the way of your expression, at least for me.

          • Ulysses Tennyson

            Well, my personal writing style IS aggressive but at least it’s not passive-aggressive. I’ve lived all over this country and I know Minnesota and Minnesotans deserve recognition for all they’ve done over the years to combat racism and welcome refugees from all over the world. Since it’s not part of their culture to blow their own horns I’ll do it for them if I think the situation calls for it. And I’ll do it aggressively if I feel so inclined. I’m not enough of a Minnesotan to feel obligated to be nice at all times. And if someone starts tossing COLLECTIVE insults like “xenophobic” and “passively racist” at what I consider an extraordinarily decent set of people who are too modest and well-mannered to respond in a sufficiently robust manner to get their point across I will not be so shy as to not do so myself and will not hesitate to do so without mincing words..

    • Yanotha Twangai

      If you have to call yourself “well spoken,” rather than letting people judge for themselves based on how you speak, that says something significant. I’ll have trouble taking anything you write seriously as long as you cling to that screen name.

      • WellSpokenMan

        Well Spoken Man was a psuedonym given to a man on the BBC show Top Gear when Jeremy Clarkson couldn’y remember some minor celebrity’s name. It was a dig on my lack of presence. I started using it on a car site where more people got the refrence. I’ve kept it because it gives me something to live up to. Disqus might have a feature that lets me change my name to something more suitable for informed debate, but I have not bothered, as informed debate on the internet is so rare that I don’t feel it is worth the trouble.

  • mplstransplant

    The ONLY thing the state should offer is a willingness to help MLS broker a deal to use one of our 4 (TCF Bank, Saints Stadium, Target Field and the Wilf Dome) under 10-year old facilities. We do not need another mostly empty, tax-payer sponsored, sports facility.

    • Starkie

      Says the clueless mplstransplant.