Thursday, May 03, 2012

Air of inevitability

Regarding the Vikings stadium, I have been saying from day one that the MN Legislature will figure out a way to jam it down the collective throats of Minnesota taxpayers. And despite a setback for the pro-stadium folks Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning, it appears the momentum has been reestablished.....for now.

The one thing that has rankled me throughout this whole process is how Gov. Mark Dayton has called this the "people's stadium." Well if that is really the case, why not have "the people" who use it actually pay for it?

Earlier this week, I heard a proposal along that line which actually might make some sense.

An unlikely trio of Minnesota senators has been pushing for a new twist in Vikings stadium financing: user fees.

The issue nearly derailed the stadium last week, after a proposal for a sales tax from DFL Sen. Tom Bakk morphed into a measure that put the entire bill for state share of the Vikings stadium on fans and spectators.

The issue actually prompted the Senate Taxes committee to adjourn at one point, because no one had any idea of the burden the user fees might represent. Now, it looks like they have an idea: Sen. John Howe, R-Red Wing, said an 18 percent levy on stadium activities -- including the Vikings share of NFL TV revenue -- would more than cover it. He said he's been working with Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, and Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, to refine the idea.

Howe said this afternoon that an estimate from the Minnesota Department of Revenue may even lower the user tax.

"Right now, it's an 18 percent user fee, to make [the state's stadium funding share] 100 percent user based, and we wouldn't have to do the charitable gambling electronic pull tabs," Howe said. "We're waiting to get that revenue estimate back, but it looks like it'll be less than 18 percent."

I still say that even facilitating the logistics for funding a sports stadium goes beyond the scope of government. However, if indeed a Vikings stadium is inevitable (like I believe it is) then why not enact a veritable "you use it, you pay for it" plan? Naturally the Vikings are not thrilled with this idea since there is a maximum amount for which they would charge fans for tickets. User fees would certainly eat in to their profit margin.

For the latest on this issue and where it goes from here, I direct you to Mr D's post from Wednesday evening.


1 comment:

David said...

And what makes you think "user fees" will materialize? Those monies are just as fraudulent as gambling when the sky-high prices kill ticket sales.

Moreover, when will this standard be applied to ANYTHING else? $200 per nosebleed Guthrie ticket? $50 per light-rail ride? Only parents of public school children pay property taxes?

If it's user fees for one, it's user fees for ALL, I say...otherwise, it's user fees for NONE.