Thursday, April 11, 2013

Meanwhile, back at the Vaseline Dome

The electronic pulltabs that were supposed to finance the new Vikings stadium aren't pulling anything, so now it's time for the dreaded foam finger frenzy:
Legislators are beginning a hard-nosed search for alternatives to electronic gambling to help pay for the planned Minnesota Vikings stadium, even as team officials met with state officials Wednesday to strategize about how to get more people playing the new barroom games.

They are being spurred by the feeble rollout of new electronic pulltabs games, which were to cover the state’s share of the $975 million stadium in downtown Minneapolis. Gov. Mark Dayton’s aides met with Vikings officials in private on the topic while in public, House Taxes Committee Chairwoman Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, promoted a once-discarded idea: Taxing pro jerseys and foam-finger sports memorabilia.
Of course, foam fingers won't get you there, either:
Lenczewski formally revived an idea that was originally included in the 2012 Vikings stadium bill but was dropped along the way. She would apply a 10 percent tax on wholesale sales of professional sports memorabilia, no matter where it is sold — whether at a pro stadium or at Target. The tax would also be levied on rentals of stadium boxes and suites. It is projected to bring in more than $12 million per year — a little more than a third of what the state needs.
If we've learned anything throughout this process, it's this: projections don't mean much. So that $12 million that Lenczewski wants isn't going to pan out, either.

For their part, the Vikings are saying what we've suspected they would say all along, to wit: Not our problem. A deal is a deal.
“We’re opposed because this legislation fundamentally changes the agreement the Vikings negotiated with the state of Minnesota,” Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said. He described the team’s contribution of $477 million as considerable and said the Vikings do not believe they should pay more.
The Vikings, like everyone else in the NFL, subscribe to a version of what used to be called the Brezhnev Doctrine: what we have, we keep. And what they have is the legislature by the short hairs.

9 comments:

First Ringer said...

"Fundamentally changes the deal"? A 10% tax on suites was included in the legislation as the last-gasp funding mechanism. The Vikes can complain that the merchandise portion of the legislation is new, but they can't possibly argue that the legislation is anything "fundamentally" new.

Mr. D said...

The Vikes can complain that the merchandise portion of the legislation is new, but they can't possibly argue that the legislation is anything "fundamentally" new.

They **can't** argue it, but they'll do it anyhow.

The merch tax is the larger issue, I suspect. They are rolling out new uniforms and are counting on a lot of Helga Braiders to update their wardrobe. Too many people walking around town wearing Randy Moss jerseys to suit Lester....

R.A. Crankbait said...

How about a 10% tax on the amoount of every projection, paid immediately?

First Ringer said...

The larger issue ought to be that even if you total up all the current projections (worthless as they've been in the past), you STILL don't reach the State's $35 million a year share.

I assume (but don't know for sure), that if general fund monies are going to have to be used that new legislation would be require to allocate them. Which begs the question - when would such a vote take place? In 2013? 2014? Or would they simply hope they can kick the issue down the road until 2015 and after re-election?

W.B. Picklesworth said...

How about a wealth tax on the legislators who voted for it?

Mr. D said...

The larger issue ought to be that even if you total up all the current projections (worthless as they've been in the past), you STILL don't reach the State's $35 million a year share.

Damn straight, FR. But larger issues are often inconvenient so we'll not speak of them, please.

I assume (but don't know for sure), that if general fund monies are going to have to be used that new legislation would be require to allocate them. Which begs the question - when would such a vote take place? In 2013? 2014? Or would they simply hope they can kick the issue down the road until 2015 and after re-election?

2015, of course. Then they'll be able to say, darn the luck, we don't have any other options.

Bike Bubba said...

I like WB's suggestion, except for the little problem that it would be a bill of attainder.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

BB, is my bill against the law? Never you mind. It's for the children after all. Or for us all. Or something. Why do you hate women and brown people? Equal pay for equal work! Forward! Non-sequitur!

Bike Bubba said...

It's also an ex post facto law.

And yes, I'm a hater. Get thee back to thy book of Concord! :^)