Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vikings success could raise your taxes

I know that Viking fans has longed for the day that their beloved team would be good enough to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season but it may have come at the worst possible time for Minnesota taxpayers. With the economy still running near the cliff of insanity, unemployment high, and a mounting debt in Washington D.C., taxpayers – not just in Minnesota – ought to be worried. The 9-1 start by the Vikings is the best in recent memory and they do look like a team that can compete for the NFC title. Along with that is the fact that the lease the Viking has with the Metrodome runs out at the end of the 2011 season. Zigi Wilf and his associates have already made it clear that staying the Dome, as is, is not an option.

While Zigi may say he wants to keep the Vikings in Minnesota, let's face it, Zigi is a business man first. Right now there is a group in Los Angeles that is courting the NFL for a franchise. At last look the mock up the proposed stadium had Vikings colors. I am not saying; rather just saying. Anyone that has owned a business near a stadium will attest that having a professional sports team nearby boost the bottom line. In a time where people are struggling, I can see some Minnesota Legislators making that argument when proposing a new stadium for the Vikings. At the same time, Zigi will play the move card at some point during the discussion. Actually, I think he already has without even saying it by saying that a lease extension is a non-starter.

Are taxpayers ready for a Legislative session that discusses raising of taxes to provide funds for a new Vikings stadium? Let's face it Favre cannot play quarterback forever and soon the Vikings will be turned back over to T-Jack. What then? Will Viking fans continue to support the team with sellouts if the team stumbles in a couple of years? I doubt it. Don't get me wrong, the notion of the Vikings playing in any other state is insane. Then again I do identify more with the Los Angeles Lakers than their former home in Minnesota. Now if the Vikings go on to win the Super Bowl imagine the leverage it will give Zigi and the organization to strap the Minnesotan taxpayer over the barrel.

Or is there another way to fund a stadium? Does the State Legislature have the guts to take on a powerful lobby group and risk the loss of a key political donor to keep the Vikings in Minnesota? The donor and lobby group I refer to is the Native American lobby. The notion of a Racino has been floated around for several years and each year it gets voted down. Now, if the proceeds were to save the Vikings – what warm-blooded Minnesota State Legislature would vote against that? Especially if Favre delivers the Lombardi trophy. Or will the taxpayers of Minnesota be saddled with another heavy handed tax to provide another wealthy businessman a place to house his pet project?