The New York Times looks at how the state’s fiscal problems are making it harder for the Vikings to get taxpayer subsidies for a new stadium in Arden Hills:
In flush times, many politicians might have backed such a project if only to avoid standing in the way of a hometown icon, especially one that could conceivably move to sunnier places, like Los Angeles, which is trying to woo an N.F.L. team.
But these are not flush times, particularly in Minnesota, the home of Representative Michele Bachmann, the Tea Party stalwart. While the Democratic governor and leaders from the Republican-controlled Legislature try to find the votes for the $300 million in state money needed to complete the deal, an alliance of land-use advocates, fiscal conservatives and liberals has joined hands in opposition.
Complicating matters further is the talk of a referendum on whether Ramsey County should raise its sales tax to put $350 million into the deal. But Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett is shown as a strong supporter of the deal as he “bemoaned what he called the stridency of other politicians.”
Said the story:
[Bennett] said they failed to see the benefits of turning a toxic eyesore into an income-producing property that would provide thousands of jobs and produce millions of dollars in new taxes.
“It’s going to kick-start the economy,” he said as he gave a tour of the site, which still has telephone lines and fire hydrants, but also land soaked with industrial solvents. “Too much is in this not to do it.”
Some in the state want to build the stadium to keep the team playing in Minnesota (even though a move would have to be approved by the NFL, which, the story says, “prefers that the Vikings stay in Minnesota, where there are avid fans and several key advertisers.”
But finding scarce tax dollars to pay for the stadium might be tough, the story, said, quoting a Star Tribune poll in May that showed “more than 60 percent of those surveyed said the Vikings should continue playing at the Metrodome and almost three-quarters said public money should not be used to help build a new stadium.”