Angry taxpayers shout "No!" to Vikings stadium money

If they get their say, this spaceship will never land on taxpayers' dime.
If they get their say, this spaceship will never land on taxpayers' dime.

The Minnesota Vikings are basically in the worst possible position to be asking for money right now. The team isn't just 0-3, it's choked on big leads in all three games.

The NFL's new owner-friendly labor agreement has left each franchise flush with cash from television deals. And the state of Minnesota is dead broke, with its books-cooking budget dealing now coming back to haunt it in the form of bad credit ratings from each of the big three agencies.

Some pretty peeved taxpayers showed up to the Ramsey County Charter Commission meeting last night, demanding that the Vikings stadium deal, which would saddle Ramsey County citizens with $350 million of the $1.1 billion total cost, be put to a vote.

And they made it clear: If they got to vote, they'd be voting "No."

There were a few Vikes fans on hand at last night's public hearing, and some who argued that the stadium could revitalize an otherwise unused piece of land at the Arden Hills site.

Zygi Wilf, Mark Dayton: Proud sponsors of Zygi-world.
Zygi Wilf, Mark Dayton: Proud sponsors of Zygi-world.

But, as the Pioneer Press reports, there was strength in numbers among opponents to the plan. Even one Arden Hills resident, who could presumably benefit from an influx of businesses in the area, wasn't thrilled about the idea of handing over chunks of the area surrounding the site to Vikings owner Zygi Wilf.

"The only person that is going to be rich off this is Zygi," Linda Swanson said. "We all know that....It's not going to stop at the stadium. It's going to become Zygi-world out there."

Well, Linda, have you considered the risk of losing Zygi-world to Los Angeles? Don't you realize what's at stake here?

Under the current proposal, the state would chip in $300 million, Ramsey County taxpayers are on the hook for $350 million, and the rest will come from various church donation baskets and children's piggybanks. All right, apparently the Vikings are at least willing to pay the leftover -- something in the $400-$500 million range.

The PiPress points out that the tax increase would add a half-percent to current Ramsey County tax rates, and come out to around $50 per resident per year. That doesn't sound like much.

Still! Should we be contributing taxpayer dollars to a team that can't hold a lead? A team that pays $100 million to Adrian Peterson and then forgets he's on the team?

If you live in Ramsey County, and you want to yell, there's another public hearing on October 11 to debate the possible referendum. By that point the Vikings will probably still be winless, and thinking about telling Minnesota that they're "just going out for a pack of cigarettes," then heading west and never looking back.


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