Stadium funding necessaryPublished 11:09am Thursday, May 12, 2011
It would be easy to oppose the proposal to provide $300 million in bonding for a new Vikings stadium. After all, the state has a $5 billion budget deficit, and multi-millionaire owners should pay for their own stadium.
However, provided the debt service can be financed with a source of revenue other than the general fund, we join Rep. Bud Nornes in support of public bonding for a Vikings’ stadium.
We oppose using state income taxes to pay for the stadium. But if the funding should come from those who enjoy and benefit from the Vikings — taxes on Vikings memorabilia, hotel and parking fees, and a state lottery game have been mentioned as possibilities — public funding would be acceptable.
No question that a football stadium should be a low priority. And it would be ideal if owner Zigi Wilf would either agree to stay in the Metrodome or pay the entire stadium tab if the Legislature refuses to participate.
But the reality is, the Vikings’ lease with the Metrodome ends after the upcoming season. And if the Legislature doesn’t provide public funding, Wilf would likely sell the team to a group or individual that would move it. Public and private groups in Los Angeles, a much larger market without a professional football team, is already building a new stadium, and would love the Vikings to move there.
The Vikings are too important of an asset to lose. We have already built stadiums using public funds for the Gophers and Twins. We need to get a Vikings stadium built as well.