After years of media coverage, countless debates in the state Legislature and more than $1 billion in public investments made, it appears Minnesota’s stadium battles are finished.
In the beginning, it appeared the state’s elected officials would oppose any and all requests for public funding going to build stadiums for the state’s prominent sports teams. However, after the dust has settled, the Twins, Gophers, Vikings and even the St. Paul Saints were all granted a certain amount of public financing.
While opponents and skeptics of the stadium bills now signed into law may still be bitter, we should all take solace in knowing that the issue of funding construction of a new stadium is unlikely to resurface anytime soon.
State officials and lawmakers should now refocus their attention back on the pressing issues that have been pushed to the back of the legislative agenda. While it might not attract the attention of the national media or high powered NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the state Legislature should focus on more important issues, such as keeping our schools well-funded, improving our public transportation and finding ways to keep the state economically competitive.
Talk of stadiums and concerns of being abandoned by our professional sports teams have long distracted the state from working to find solutions to problems that should have been solved long ago, such as the long-term state budget burdens.
With the years of vitriolic stadium debates behind us, lawmakers now have no excuse not to tackle the tough issues that we can no longer afford to ignore. While public investments in our sports teams will likely prove to be economically beneficial, budget deficits and public education should remain a top priority.