Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shiny New Toys For Billionaires

When it comes to luxury purchases you will soon regret, I am nobody to scold.

But the economics on the Minnesota Vikings proposal for a new retractable roof venue are stupid enough to make you think the good folks up there have completely lost their minds.

A state that is $5,000 million in the red on their annual budget (Note: I wish all reporting of financial stories listed billions as the more viscerally understandable one-thousand-million figure) is going to somehow scrape together several hundred million in public money to make Zygi Wylf just a little bit more rich.

From the Washington Post, by way of Sally Jenkins...

Under the latest proposal favored by the Vikings, Minnesotans would pony up $650 million so Wilf can have a new $1 billion palace in the Arden Hills suburb of St. Paul. Ramsey County would get hit with a $350 million tab via a sales tax increase. The state, which is facing a $5 billion budget shortfall, would contribute another $300 million. The Vikings would contribute $407 million, but would pay no rent at all, and would get all revenues from the stadium, including parking, signage and naming rights. What a deal for the public.

That’s not all. The county would be on the hook for $1.5 million a year in operating expenses; the Vikings would be exempt from any state sales taxes on the building materials; and the state would be required to make improvements to roads and infrastructure that could cost $240 million more.

Well, that's just super. If I'm a taxpayer in Minnesota, and this thing passes, even IF it only nicks me 1/2 of 1 percent in sales tax in a single county, I'm gonna take this as a strong hint - along with testicle freezing winters - to move the fuck out of Minnesota.

I don't really have a dog in this fight, but it gets more and more sickening to think that we have devolved into a 2nd world nation where crony capitalism has run amok.


From Wikipedia:

Crony capitalism is a term describing an allegedly capitalist economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, and so forth.

Crony capitalism is believed to arise when political cronyism spills over into the business world; self-serving friendships and family ties between businessmen and the government influence the economy and society to the extent that it corrupts public-serving economic and political ideals.


  1. 'a dog is this fight'? Nicely said Mr. Vick

  2. Its easy to say the taxpayers are getting the shaft (they are) when its a team you have no ties to. If you had the choice between getting taxed to the moon vs. losing the redskins to LA, suddenly getting taxed up the pooper doesn't sound as bad. If the Vikings were to leave, we'd have nothing to distract us from those testicle-frozen winters. The Vikings know we (Minnesotans) need them more than they need us, so were negotiating from a weak position. Add in the fact that LA is willing to build a stadium and offer a huge market, and I'm surprised were getting off with this light of a bill.
    On a side note, how does it take this story to make you (living in DC) realize that all politians are in bed with businessmen??

  3. Big money rules the world. Always has, probably always will.

  4. get a clue, czabe. the new economics says that if you want to be a city with an NFL team, you gotta pony up!

  5. J Lew (Jason Lewis) has said if you are truly fiscally conservative, the public funding of a popular local sports team is the ultimate litmus test.

    I concur. If this structure is purely to be used by the Vikes, why in hell should Ziggy be subsidized? Pray tell. It is a preposterous argument that the public should pay for a structure that a single private entity exclusively uses to make an absolute fortune...

  6. Jason Lewis rocks! "He portrays himself as 'Mr. Right'..."

  7. Derek - that is a stupid comment. I am not saying that you are stupid, but the notion that a pro football team is important AT ALL is pretty tough for a lot of people to swallow. As Czabe said pretty well in his post, this is nothing but largesse for a billionaire. The economic impact of an NFL team is quite miniscule compared to what the state of Minnesota could do with that money. Let the Vikes move or pony up. Simple as that.

  8. To see why this is a bad idea one needs to look no further than their neighboring state of Wisconsin. Politicians are already considering the idea of EXTENDING the tax that built Miller Park to now help build a new arena for the Bucks!

    It only takes 1 retard politician to do it too -- calling Thommy "Stick it to 'em" Thompson...

  9. Well, there are three issues

    1) As someone said earlier, if you want a team you have to pay. It is that simple.

    2) Generally, the taxes used to pay for the new stadium are usually a 1/2 cent increase in sales tax and additional taxes on hotels, tickets and rentals - items that are generally not paid by most local residents or those going to use the stadium.

    3) The argument that this money would be used to pay off debt or build schools is absurd. Most times, the money used to build a new stadium would never be used in the alternative.

  10. The Viking's plot is lights years removed from what Green Bay did to fund it's $200M+ Lambeau renovation.

    Bob Harlan went door-to-door asking people to support a public REFERENDUM to increase Brown Co's sales tax by 1/2 percent. Throw in the fact that there is zero risk that Green Bay will ever move... and it still got done.

    Now, Lambeau's looking at another, smaller renovation/expansion. This one completely paid for by the team.

    Green Bay Packers > Minnesota Vikings

    Enjoy LA, Ziggy. I hear the Lakers are doing just fine.

  11. Green Bay Packers > Minnesota Vikings
    Enough said.

  12. Can anyone tell me why they build an outdoor baseball stadium and why they didn't build a stadium suitable for both teams to play in? Isn't anyone old enough to remember what Metropolitan Stadium was like?

  13. The same people who think that cities should bend over and take it from professional sports teams are the same one who pay thousands of dollars for the "right" to buy NFL tickets. In 5 years, they will be the same people buying the NFL pay-per-view when the NFL stops paying the networks and goes the way of boxing. Idiots, all of you...

  14. When was the last time the Vikings were winning and went to the playoffs? The twins deserved a new BASEBALL stadium. The days of football and baseball stadiums being one ended with Camden Yards. Being a Minnesota tax payer, what I wonder is why they built a nice new stadium at the University of Minnesota but didn't just build one to house both the vikings and the gophers, a la Pittsburgh.
    In MN they're pussies. If you took the retractable roof off you'd save yourself a ton of money. Let it be an open air stadium and relive the days of the Met, (even though I wasn't even an thought back then.) As of now though they don't need a stadium if they're not going to be playing football anyway.
    As to the not being anything between baseball season, has anyone not heard of the Wild or the Timberwolves? Wild tickets are hard to come by and what's not to LOVE about the wolves?

  15. Johnny - NFC title game 2 years ago. Dope.

    Anywho, one thing I've never understood is the NFL's addiction to getting a team in LA. Let's see, they had 2 teams there, and both thought so highly of the place that they left. Sounds like a great place to be...