Today, a bill was introduced to the Minnesota legislature that would provide two-thirds of the funding that would be necessary for a new, $791 million Vikings stadium. The site has not been finalized by this particular bill, as it would allow various communities to compete for the right to have the stadium built in their town. To my understanding, this would be done through the raising of local taxes, similar to what was taking place with the project out in Blaine a few years ago that wound up falling through.
There are provisions within the bill to raise money by other means as well.
The biggest part of the public money would come from a nearly 7 percent tax on jerseys, trading cards and other sports memorabilia, which would bring in an estimated $17 million a year. The 1.5 percent hotel surtax in the seven-county metro area would bring an estimated $8 million, and the sports-themed scratch-off game and rental car tax would each bring in an estimated $5.5 million.
Now, I'm not the most politically savvy guy you're ever going to meet, but this strikes me, all-in-all, as a pretty good idea. For the most part, only people that would be supporting the Vikings would be supporting it. Heck, I live out of state and have never been a Minnesota resident, but if I were to order another Vikings' jersey at some point, if this went through I would find a Minnesota-based business to get it through in order to support the stadium effort.
However, Governor Tim Pawlenty has wasted no time in basically shooting everything that's contained in the bill down, saying that he absolutely wouldn't raise taxes on anything to support a stadium effort as long as he is in office.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty, in Washington, D.C. on Monday for a U.S. Chamber of Commerce forum, said that while he is open to new ideas to help build a Vikings stadium he reiterated that "we’re not going to be raising or dealing with state taxes to subsidize that."
His office, through spokeman Brian McClung, was even more critical of Monday’s stadium proposal. "We remain opposed to any stadium plan that includes tax increases, including the hotel tax, jersey tax, and rental car tax in one of the plans unveiled today," McClung said.
"The governor [also] continues to believe the team needs a local partner to be successful in their effort," said McClung, referring to the fact that stadium supporters still had not identified a local government that would help finance the project.
Well, if memory serves me correctly, Pawlenty won't be in office that much longer. As I said earlier, I'm not a Minnesota resident and have no way of helping to get a new guy into office. . .but if there's a candidate that can actually see how important the Vikings are to the state of Minnesota, not to mention the wages for construction workers that a stadium project would bring in and the savings that would be realized by doing something now as opposed to waiting, then I hope that the people of Minnesota can get him or her into office to keep the Vikings right where they are.
If there are folks out there that are more well-educated on the stadium situation than I am, hopefully they will shed some light on some things in the comments section here.