Before and after. . .hopefully, quite soon, there will be a "future" picture to go along with these two. (Photos by Doug Pensinger (above) and Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)
One of the overwhelming cries from people that are against a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings is that it should be paid for "by the people that will use it." According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, it looks like the majority of state-provided funds for a new stadium would be raised in just that way.
The Vikings' stadium bill proposes a 10% tax on wholesale sales of sports memorabilia anywhere in the state of Minnesota. Not just on Vikings' merchandise, either. . .rather, it will be a tax on sports merchandise licensed by pretty much any professional sports league. Everything from the NFL and Major League Baseball all the way down to things that don't have a regular presence in Minnesota, such as NASCAR and World Wrestling Entertainment.
The current funding structure of the stadium bill calls for the $700 to $900 million price tag to be split three ways. . .one-third from the team, one-third from the state, and one-third from a yet-to-be-determined local partner. The Revenue Department projects that of the $29.5 million the state would have to contribute in 2015, approximately $17.6 million would come from the memorabilia tax. The rest would come from the following sources:
• $7.8 million from a 5 percent surcharge on the income that Vikings players and their opponents make when playing in the new stadium;
• $2.1 million from a special Vikings-themed lottery game;
• $1.39 million from a 6.5 percent sales tax on direct satellite TV services, including DVR;
• $650,000 from a 6.5 percent sales tax on suite, box seat and sky box rentals at the new stadium.
Again, biased though I might be, I like this idea. A lot of the people that are going to buy sports merchandise are going to be fans of the team or people with, at the very least, an interest in seeing the Vikings stay in Minnesota. Short of taxing things like hotel rooms and rental cars, which I suppose would still be an additional possibility, this would pass the cost primarily on to the people that would get usage out of the stadium, not to mention all of the other events that would end up taking place at the new stadium, up to and including one of the upcoming Super Bowls.
Now, if the team would just stop screwing around and find themselves a local partner. . .you know, like Ramsey County, since (as Skol Girl so ably pointed out) they're the only ones that seem to be showing any real, genuine interest in this whole thing. . .they might actually have a snowball's chance of getting this thing passed.
(Hat tip to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune for this story.)