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Mayor Rybak’s Vikings stadium forum at Nokomis Community Center

Ed Kohler summarizes and analyzes Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak’s public forum about the latest Vikings stadium plan.

Minneapolis Mayor, RT Rybak, held a hearing on the current Vikings stadium plan at the Nokomis Community Center on Tuesday, April 10th. I had a chance to check it out and do some tweeting from the front row. Here’s how that turned out.

The post below flips between tweets from last night and color commentary today:

Rybak’s Vikings Stadium Forum at Nokomis Community Center

Minneapolis Mayor, RT Rybak, held a hearing on the current Vikings stadium plan at the Nokomis Community Center on Tuesday, April 10th. I had a chance to check it out and do some tweeting from the front row. Here’s how that turned out.

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Storified by Ed Kohler · Wed, Apr 11 2012 11:45:32

Rybak’s Vikings stadium hearing includes people wearing Majority for Vikings Stadium stickers. By union members who’d profit from #wilfare.Ed Kohler
I’m all for people showing their support, but claiming that a majority support corporate welfare to tear down the Metrodome (with its new field and roof) so we can build a slightly larger and newer stadium is dishonest.
Union members seem to believe Vikings stadium has better chance of passing legislature than more worthy public bonding projects. #wilfareEd Kohler
The difference in bonding bills between the Governor and the MN House is around the same as what the public would spend to subsidize Wilf’s business by building something we already have. Would the House support corporate welfare over building bridges, upgrading public spaces, and upgrading our public schools and universities? Perhaps. It’s pretty sad when union members have to support a bad project over much more worthy projects in order to find work.
@edkohler At Mayor’s hearing? If so, throw your hat into the ring. If this gets passed, RT’s likely unemployed come election time…Nathaniel Hood
RT continues to say that we can judge him in the next election for his stance on the stadium. While we could vote him out in a few years, we’d still be stuck covering debt payments and operating costs on both a new Vikings stadium and Target Center through a city-wide sales tax, downtown entertainment tax, exploitation of the state’s pulltab gamblers, and potentially Hennepin County taxes for the next 30 years. And that’s before Wilf claims poverty in a few years and comes back to renegotiate his lease.
Rybak says downtown hotels claim 10% of their revenues come from Vikings games. There is NO WAY that is true vs convention hotel nights.Ed Kohler
10 Saturday nights (and a few Fridays) of hosting out of town Vikings fans who happen to choose to stay in Minneapolis adds up to 10% of downtown hotel revenue? I questioned Rybak about this last week in a private meeting, saying “I find that hard to believe.” At the time, he backed away from the statement, saying “that’s what the hotels tell me.” Which, to me, says that he doesn’t believe it either but has chosen to repeat the statement anyway. Not his strongest argument.
@edkohler You’d be surprised how many people from places like South Dakota have season tix. My old roommate used to sit next to some.Mark Snyder
Quite a few do. The Holiday Inn Metrodome seems to be popular with the Dakota crowd. I’m sure those are good weekends for that location. 
@snyde043 people definitely visit 8-10 nights per year. Hotels benefit, but that is a small fraction of their business.Ed Kohler
According to Meet Minneapolis, downtown hotels are running at 57% occupancy. If all downtown hotels went to 100% occupancy on BOTH Friday and Saturday nights of home games, the Vikings would account for 2% of revenues. 
@snyde043 And they spend 2 weeks in Minneapolis for each game? @edkohlerPatrick
That’s pretty much what it would take for Rybak’s economic impact of Vikings games statement to be true.
@edkohler agreed. so they say 8 league reg.season home games bring in that type of revenue? Make them prove it.Dwayne Mosley
I would be interested in seeing someone prove it. But, even if that was the case, it doesn’t justify the costs the public is being asked to pay (without a vote).
A reading of the Minneapolis charter amendment by a No Stadium Tax audience member earns the first applause of the night. #wilfareEd Kohler
476 people and counting have signed a petition requesting that Rybak and Minneapolis City Council members abide by the Minneapolis Charter which requires a referendum on spending $10 million or more of the public’s money on a pro sports stadium. If the deal is a good one for the public, the public will support it. If not, they won’t. We deserve a chance to vote on it. Based on recent polls, I seriously doubt that the public would support the current Vikings corporate welfare plan.
Person in support of stadium mistakenly compares public $ to economic impact. Taxes would have to be 100% to be apples to apples. #wilfareEd Kohler
This is a common mistake. He claimed that the stadium would generate $1.5 billion in economic output for Minneapolis over the life of the stadium. The problem is that he compared that number to the $150 million the city would put toward construction costs to pretend that this is a good deal. Hey, a 10X return! Except, Minneapolis’ tax rates aren’t 100%. 
Minneapolis CFO Kevin Carpenter: "Government does not run in a profit motive." Strange explanation for subsidizing an NFL team.Ed Kohler
I’m pretty sure Carpenter was asked how much the public would lose on this deal. He didn’t get into specifics, for obvious reasons.
Emotions running high among those who want Minneapolis to honor charter requiring vote for $10m or more spending on stadium. #wilfareEd Kohler
Turns out that people don’t like having their money redistributed to out of state billionaires without a vote. Or, they haven’t heard a argument on why this is good for them that truly resonates with them.
No Stadium Tax member, Becker, points out that all hospitality tax revenue could be used for property tax relief rather than #wilfare.Ed Kohler
That’s an unlikely scenario, but it’s a good reminder that the hospitality tax could be used for more worthy uses. Rybak pointed out that he’s tried in the past with no luck. State Representatives and Senators from outside Minneapolis seems to be willing to pay for a Vikings stadium using taxes imposed upon people who work and live in Minneapolis (half cent city-wide tax) and live, work, and dine in downtown Minneapolis (3% hospitality taxes).
@edkohler Is Colvin Roy there?Kirk K.
Yep. Roy, Quincy, Gordon, and Schiff were there. None of them spoke during the forum, but they all got plenty of feedback from attendees.
Rybak points out Target Center was built privately, failed financially, and is on the Minneapolis property tax rolls today. #wilfareEd Kohler
According to Rybak, property tax payers in Minneapolis pay $5 million/yr to subsidize Target Center. Based on the horrible terms of the lease the city has with the Timberwolves, the city is forced to upgrade the facility to “NBA standards” which will increase the city’s cost to $10 million/yr. 
@edkohler What’s his point? The city didn’t need to bail out the Target Center? Stadiums are truly economic losersNathaniel Hood
Under his plan, the property tax burden from the Target Center would shift to sales and hospitality taxes AND pay for $150m of Wilf’s stadium AND pay for ongoing maintenance of the convention center.
@edkohler Thanks. Colvin Roy is mine. Hoping she un-flip-flops on honoring the charter.Kirk K.
Same here.
@Nathaniel1983 that we need a bigger stadium boondoggle to help pay off our current stadium boondoggle. #wilfareEd Kohler
We’re not learning from our mistakes.
@edkohler Why don’t you want the Vikings Stadium to be built???Daily Leisure Viking
A common question from Vikings fans looking for public subsidies for their private entertainment.
.@dl_Vikings I support a new stadium being built, but not the funding scheme. Why won’t fans pay? Or local businesses? #wilfareEd Kohler
That response to @dl_Vikings earned a typical non-response. Vikings fans don’t seem to enjoy explaining why they need their entertainment subsidized by people buying toilet paper at Target.
Minneapolis Vikings stadium plan: hit downtown residents & workers w/sales taxes so we can get $ from Wilf & gambling addicts. #wilfareEd Kohler
That’s my nutshell look at things. Rybak can shift one sports welfare boondoggle from property to sales taxes if he’s willing to help pay to build and maintain another one. By doing so, the city benefits(?) from state collected gambling revenues and Wilf’s contribution. 
Hennepin County is a backup funding source in this plan, so Minneapolis residents may have the opportunity to pay at a state, county, and city level for this wasteful use of public resources.

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This post was written by Ed Kohler and originally published on The Deets. Follow Ed on Twitter: @edkohler

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