GOP stadium tax is misguided

Republicans’ call for a tax hike to support the Vikings is absurd and hypocritical.

For years, Minnesota GOP legislators have refused to raise taxes to prevent devastating cuts to public safety, education and social services. Now they want Minnesotans to swallow a sales tax increase to pay for a handout to a corporation (the Minnesota Vikings) that, like a spoiled child, has repeatedly threatened to leave the state if it doesnâÄôt get a new toy (a stadium).

The introduction of a bill to raise sales tax to pay for a stadium with the primary purpose of generating profit for a private business showcases the blatant hypocrisy inherent in the GOP platform. They vehemently oppose tax increases to finance welfare programs unless the beneficiary is a well-connected corporation.

They laud the free market but want to spend public money on capital for a private business. If the DFL were to propose such a policy, like raising taxes to support alternative energy companies, theyâÄôd be (inaccurately) called socialists.

The jobs argument doesnâÄôt hold up either. A new stadium will create some short-term, unsustainable job growth in the construction industry to be sure. But Republicans arenâÄôt willing to raise taxes to protect our stateâÄôs university system, which generates long-term economic growth by producing a workforce and knowledge base for the high-tech industries of the future.

In fact, the GOP wants to cut funding for education and municipal governments, which ultimately means lost jobs, many of which would be in the crucial area of public safety.

We can raise taxes for a sports arena, but we canâÄôt raise taxes to keep cops on the beat and teachers in the classroom? If the Vikings, as a private business, want to increase their capital assets with a new stadium, they should pay for the lionâÄôs share. ThatâÄôs how the free market is supposed to work.

If citizens allow legislators to enact this sales tax increase, we need to seriously question our priorities as a state.