Marginal stadium benefit not worth all the cost to it

According to new reports, pull tabs could generate $72 million for a Vikings stadium. DFL Rep. Terry Morrow is part of the legislative stadium working group and has tentatively endorsed pull tabs to provide $340 million toward the state’s share of stadium funds.

Is Morrow asking Vikings fans or gamblers to pay for a new stadium?

Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, released a statement in May citing a Star Tribune poll that found 60 percent of Minnesotans objected to a publicly funded Vikings stadium.

Thompson said: “Minnesota’s economy is sluggish, and unemployment remains too high. Instead of funding a stadium to help million-dollar athletes pay their mortgages, the Legislature should be focused on creating a business friendly environment that facilitates job creation and investment.”

Meanwhile, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf captures a monopolistic advantage complemented with government subsidy and competition with restrictive barriers to entry. Respectively, players salaries are not consumer or market driven.

In 1982, the Metrodome cost $33 million and has generated $320 million in tax revenue. The Metrodome roof repair ($22 million, insured, third party pay) was completed July 13, 2012, and fully operational without additional tax payer burden.

The Minnesota Vikings stadium plan calls for 72,000 seats/benefactors in Arden Hills at a price of $1.1 billion. A report by Conventions, Sports and Leisure said “a new stadium and the retention of the Vikings will generate $26 million tax revenue annually.”

Economic policy of this nature — anti-change — limits opportunity for maximum social and economic benefit.

Minnesotans’ debt obligation today is $43.9 billion. A new Vikings home — in Minneapolis, Arden Hills or anywhere else — depends upon $686 million taxpayer subsidy, also deemed the “investment.” A $129.43 tax increase for every man, woman and child in Minnesota.

Is the marginal external benefit greater than $686 million? —Bret Yuker, Princeton


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