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Today’s Plea For Billionaire Welfare

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If only I thought Minnesota would hold the line:

But the Vikings’ pitch stands apart from other N.F.L. stadium deals because it is running headlong into a vastly different economic and political landscape. In a state whose financial hardships were so severe that the Legislature shut down state services for several weeks over the summer, a franchise in the $9 billion N.F.L. is asking the public to pay about 60 percent of the cost of a $1.1 billion stadium that would be built here, about 10 miles north of the Twin Cities.

The country’s most popular sport is colliding with the country’s emergent political philosophy: smaller government and lower taxes.

“We have to ask whether this is really a good use of the money,” said King Banaian, one of more than 30 Republicans to join Minnesota’s House of Representatives this year and a professor who teaches sports economics at St. Cloud State University. “Should we be supporting a new stadium over higher education? It’s simply not a priority. These deals are, by and large, giveaways to millionaires and billionaires.”

It’s very hard to justify stadium subsidies even in the case of something like Comerica Park, where 1)at least the major tenant is guaranteed 81 dates a year, and 2)while there may be negligible if not negative net value for the metro area as a whole there’s at least some economic benefit for the city of Detroit, which does provide some value for the area as whole. But for venue whose tenant plays 10 games a year, in a location where people will just drive in and drive out? That goes beyond being merely bad economic policy to just being a con. The idea that this subsidy of billionaires brings substantial economic benefits is absurd.

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