Our opinion: Reconsider Vikings stadiumPublished 10:17am Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Daily Herald editorial
The stadium news just keeps getting worse for Minnesotans. First, the governor and other stadium proponents saw their gambling-based scheme to pay for the state’s share of a new Vikings stadium fall flat. Then those same leaders were stunned when the team acted like the private, for-profit business that it is and announced a seat license fee. Most recently has come the news that the Vikings’ owners — who are the state’s partners in this stadium business — are in trouble for their dealings in New Jersey. Maybe it is time for the Legislature to step in and take corrective action.
It was the Legislature, of course, that ultimately approved a stadium plan that has Minnesota on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in construction costs — and hoping that the team will come through with its own share. Minnesotans have already seen cigarette taxes diverted and corporate taxes increased (through closing a loophole) to make up for a failed video gambling plan that was supposed to pay the state’s share. Now there is reason to have concern about the Vikings’ owners.
Before the project gets any further along, it is time for lawmakers — who are going to St. Paul for a special session in September — to reconsider the state’s investment in a project that appears troubled.
Although it is seldom mentioned — at least not by the governor and lawmakers — the reality is the taxpayers will ultimately be responsible for the state’s share of the stadium project. While many believe that money could have been spent better elsewhere, there is at least the consolation that a new stadium will result from the investment. But only if state leaders do their due diligence before it is too late.