A private matter

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 2010


It was bad enough that the Metrodome roof’s collapse on a snowy Sunday morning forced the Vikings to move what was to have been a home game to Detroit. It’s even worse that the collapse may provide fuel to those who want to use tax money to build a new football stadium.

The Dome has a history of collapsing, or at least semi-collapsing, although it had been so long since the last episode that many Minnesotans had forgotten about it. Clearly an inability to withstand heavy snow is a setback for any public building in Minnesota. It might also be evidence that the Vikings need a new stadium. What it is not is an indicator that any new stadium needs to be built with taxpayer money.

Email newsletter signup

Enthusiasm for a new stadium shouldn’t be allowed to cross into the public domain, where Minnesota faces so many financial challenges — insufficient money for education, for senior citizens’ services, for transportation, to name a few — that if any extra public money can be scraped up, it needs to either reduce taxes or support essential services. Businesses — and make no mistake, the Vikings are a profitable business — that need new facilities typically find a way to raise the money without major taxpayer donations, whether that be by borrowing from a bank or selling new ownership interests in the team.

When the old stadium collapses, it’s definitely a sign that something ought to be done. In this case, the something should not be dunning taxpayers to pay for a new stadium.