Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Vikings lose the high ground

Throughout the long painful soap opera that was the Minnesota Vikings stadium drive, there has been plenty of conservatives upset with lawmakers that would think for any reason that building a stadium for a private business was a good idea.  But it has been hard to blame the Vikings; if they as a business can persuade someone else to build them a  stadium, then that makes good business sense, right?  Caveot emptor applies to elected politicians as well as the average consumer.

But the announcement that the Vikings are interested in Personal Seat Licenses is where the Vikes lose the high moral ground.  Why?  because they repeatedly said in stadium drive efforts that PSL's would not work in Minnesota because the market was not big enough.  This was the justification for needing taxpayer dollars.  Here is the Vikings 'build the stadium' webpage from 2010, and the last line specifically says PSL's will not work in Minnesota as a major source of revenue, click to enlarge;

As much as I hate to agree with Governor Dayton, the Vikings gave a specific impression that PSL's were not a valid funding source in Minnesota.  If they now think they can raise money through PSL's, then it sure looks like they were negotiating with the state in bad faith.

That being said, the governor doesn't get a pass on this.  First, he has governed with an anti-big business agenda.  Second, he has repeatedly said that the wealthy are not paying their fair share.  So when negotiating a billion dollar stadium deal with a wealthy businessman, he apparently decided to simply trust the Wilf's at their word.  No matter that the PSL language was included in the bill for all to see, Governor Dayton decided to trust the very type of person he accuses of not paying enough in taxes and always trying to get special treatment by the legislature.

Since Governor Dayton took the lion's share of the credit for the stadium deal, he is the one who get's the responsibility for hounding the Vike's on PSL's.  If they go forward with the plan, any revenue generated should be split 50-50 with the taxpayers.

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