Our friend Bryan Reynolds from Hockey Wilderness posted something about this during the game yesterday, but I didn't get around to mentioning it until now.
But yes, over the weekend, the Minnesota Vikings unveiled a stadium funding plan so brilliant. . .so amazing. . .so sensible. . .that it has absolutely, positively no chance in hell of passing because WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH WELFARE FOR BILLIONAIRES and so forth. You know, the usual.
Here's a bigger picture of the ad that appeared in the newspapers over the weekend. The proposal has started to be circulated under the name of the "But-For" Plan.
(Say it along with me, because you know you want to. . ."What's a But-For?" It's funny if you think about it from the perspective of an eight-year old or something.)
Full text of the proposal and more analysis of it after the jump.
The Vikings would make an investment on the Arden Hills site of $407 million - the third-largest private contribution in NFL history.
The remainder of the financing would be paid through income taxes currently paid by Vikings players, visiting players, and Vikings employees, as well as sales taxes on all the spending by fans inside the stadium.
In other words, all the money would come from sources that would not exist "but for" the Vikings being in Minnesota. Hence, the unforgettable name.
Sure, there are other finance plans being discussed that raise new revenues, and those plans are acceptable. Problem is, they never seem to leave the discussion stage.
So now we're recommending a purely purple financing package. And remember, over 300 days per year, this facility would be available to the public for non-Vikings events.
We have been working for a new stadium for 10 years. It's time to get this done. Yes, the economy is lousy, but remember, this stadium will support 7,500 construction jobs during its three-year construction. That's why labor unions are strongly backing a solution. And interest rates are at historic lows. Wait just one year, and inflation could add up to $50 million to the cost.
The Vikings have a strong tradition in Minnesota. But now we have to start building a successful future for the team and the State. Talk to your friends and legislators about getting behind the "But-For" stadium plan.
See, this whole solution flies in the face of what so many of the anti-stadium whiners like to throw up there.
"Why don't the people that use the stadium pay for it?" Well, that's pretty much what this does.
"Oh, well you're just taking money that would be going to the general fund." Funny thing about that. . .if this team skips town and heads for Los Angeles or wherever, that money isn't going into the general fund anyway. Unless, of course, you think that the state of California or the city of Los Angeles would make a generous contribution to the general fund "just because" or something.
"I don't want my taxes to go up to help build a stadium." Doesn't appear as though that's something you'd have to worry about. (Oh, and by the way, whether it's to help build a stadium or not, your taxes are going up eventually. Such is life when your state is $6 billion in the hole.)
According to a study by the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission back in February, the Minnesota Vikings and their various connected revenue streams generate more than $20 million a year in various taxes for the state of Minnesota. (Hat tip to the Star-Tribune for that tidbit.) Now, it's been a while since my last math class, but let me take a shot at this.
$20 million a year. . .multiplied by 30 years. . .that gives us $600 million. Throw in the $407 million contribution from the Vikings and that's. . .hmmmmm, a shade over $1 billion. That sounds like it's damn near enough to build a stadium with, doesn't it?
Like I said, this makes entirely too much sense, unless there's something blatant and egregious that I'm just totally missing in this entire thing here.