The Free Press, Mankato, MN

News Ticker

Editorials

May 24, 2013

Our View: Stadium gimmick backfires

Why It Matters: Tax money that ought to be used for other purposes is now earmarked for the Vikings stadium project.

When the 2012 Legislature approved the Vikings stadium, it trumpeted the notion that it would use no general fund money.

That focus made a virtue out of political necessity, as nobody believed the public would stand for diverting money from other purposes to a business subsidy, not even a business as beloved as Minnesota’s NFL team.

A year later, we have come to realize what should have been apparent then: The financing mechanism for the state’s sizable share of the stadium price was too gimmicky to be relied on. Electronic pulltabs aren’t going to raise more money than the entire price of Target Field after all.

And the 2013 Legislature, at the behest of Gov. Mark Dayton, has turned to general fund money to backstop 2012’s mistake.

Dayton’s rationale for the reversal is that the state is now committed to the project and cannot afford to see it fail. True as that may be, the state is in that position because either the proponents sincerely misjudged their proposal, or because they misled us with it. Neither is attractive.

The lesson from this fiasco should be this: Any governmental project should be paid for by either a open and honest tax or by a well-designed, well targeted user fee. If the tax or the fee is unpalatable, the project isn’t worth doing.

The Vikings stadium failed on that measure. The 2012 Legislature turned to a gimmick.

And now we’ll pay for that mistake.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Editorials
  • Spear column: Hoffner case tested first and right rules The biggest news stories carry the biggest risk

    April 20, 2014

  • SCC leads the way on work ed The importance of higher education has never been more pronounced than with the changes occurring in our economy, especially in manufacturing. Bloomberg News noted that manufacturing accounts for 80 percent of our exports and for every one high-tech

    April 20, 2014

  • Our View: Y helps kids with skatepark Thumbs up to the YMCA and supporters working quickly to open an interim roller sport park. When fire destroyed Chesley Roller Sports Park in February, the Y made the commitment to rebuild it this summer and fall. But the Y also moved to give skateboa

    April 19, 2014

  • Our View: Make course evaluations public There's been a considerable and legitimate debate over the years about whether students at a public university should have access to teacher and course evaluations. Whenever there is a legitimate debate, it's hard to be in favor of less information a

    April 18, 2014

  • Our View: Drawing the line after Ukraine Why it matters: Tensions are ramping up once more as Russia tries to dictate to Ukraine.

    April 17, 2014

  • Our View: Costs key in health care access While more uninsured got coverage, costs must be controlled to sustain programs

    April 16, 2014

  • Our View: Saving lives trumps booking drug users Changes to the drug laws would save lives of those who overdose

    April 15, 2014

  • Pay attention! Distraction a problem A few years ago safety experts focused heavily on the dangers of people talking on cellphones while driving. Some states passed laws prohibiting the use of hand-held phones in cars as a result. Today much attention is on motorists typing on tiny hand

    April 14, 2014

  • DEBATE MEDICAL MARIJUANA When Minnesota lawmakers return from their spring break, one of the issues they may face is medical marijuana. This has been kicked around too many times. We feel it deserves to be pushed from committee and debated on the floor. The issue has been tr

    April 13, 2014

  • Our View: Cities saved on garbage collection Mankato and North Mankato saved their taxpayers money by bidding on garbage service

    April 12, 2014