Poll says it all

Published 10:42 am Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The latest poll on whether Minnesotans want to pay for a new pro football stadium ought to put an end, once and for all, to discussions about using tax dollars in any form to building a new Vikings venue.

Like almost every professional sports organization that has not had a new stadium in recent years, the Vikings’ owner wants one. There’s big revenue for the team if it can control parking, fill luxurious skyboxes and offer improved concessions. That’s especially true if taxpayers foot part of the bill. A Star Tribune poll, published Monday, found that 75 percent of Minnesotans oppose using public money for a Vikings stadium. The poll does not dig into the respondents’ reasons, but no doubt many are thinking that if we can truly afford more taxes perhaps that money should go to essentials like education and health care.

The team’s owner has been vague about what his plans would be if a stadium is not forthcoming once the Vikings’ Metrodome lease ends in 2011, but the implied threat is that the team could move. There is no doubt that it would be a big loss to the state if the Vikings were to move. The question is whether the loss of a pro sports franchise is worse than extracting more tax dollars from already strapped Minnesotans. Most, apparently, don’t think so.

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We hope the Vikings can find a way to afford a new stadium. We hope that lawmakers and the next governor recognize that taxpayers don’t want to foot the bill.