Tuesday, June 07, 2011

So That Viking Player Tax Was Crazy

Back in April, when the various tax schemes that were being kicked around to fund a new Vikings stadium were being revealed, there was one that I thought was super-crazy and dumb:  an additional tax of Vikings players.

At the time, I wrote:

And taxing the very NFL players who work in the state to pay for your stadium is pretty goddamn ridiculous. The owners right now have locked out players because they say they need another One Billion Dollars, at least in part, to build new stadiums. At the exact time they are making that argument public, The Vikings are (presumably) helping to craft legislation that singles those players out again and taxes them to pay more of their salary into the building of their stadium. No one knows what the exact percentage of the proposed "pro football player income tax surcharge" would be, but whatever it is would be unfair to the point where I wonder if it would even be legal. Can one's taxes be altered based on an individual's profession? Could the State of Minnesota just one day decide, "Doctors do pretty good--they all now pay one extra percent compared to everyone else in their tax bracket?"

And hey, sure enough, two whole months later, the Vikings seem to have come to realization that "may not be constitutional to tax one class of people, to single them out."  They didn't figure that out on their own though--it was the NFL who actually had to step in and deliver that bad (and shockingly obvious) piece of news.  Seriously.

I'd have a much better sense of whether a Vikings Stadium deal will happen if I had a sense that the people involved know what they are doing.  But here's a company that's demanding more than $600 million in public money from a state that is running huge deficits (which the Vikings hardly ever even acknowledge is the reality on the ground for them).  Here's a company that thinks the best place to build a new stadium is a realtively inconvenient Superfund site with no public transportation (and has acted as if the location was a fait accompli--"We are going to Arden Hills.")  Here's a company that signed off on a proposal that included singling out their own employees to help pay for their own property expansion, and didn't seem to have any idea that said tax might be illegal. In short, I have little confidence that anyone involved knows what they are doing, or the situation they are in.


smutsboy said...

Private teams making private profits shouldn't get a dime of public money.

There has never been an objective study that proves that stadiums are net gains for communities.


Andrew Wice said...

I understand that the Metrodome was designed poorly and is in disrepair. I cannot understand how it would be better or cheaper to build a new stadium in a new location.

The infrastructure is already there. Why isn't a retrofit even on the table? And then what is the Metrodome area going to be after the Vikes move? Some arena well-suited to selling 2,000 tickets to a soccer game?

I don't get it.

Big Blue Monkey 2: The Quickening said...

Andrew, I'll be honest--I've barely heard a retrofit mentioned. It was just off the table, it was off in some other room when everything else was sitting down at the table. Like the Retrofit went to the totally wrong table in some other building, or something.

The only person I've seen even mention it is Phil Krinkie, who runs the Taxpayers League of Minnesota (who are a pretty hard right group, fiscally speaking).