Tax exemptions are bad for city

by Daily Editorial Board

A proposal for a new soccer stadium in downtown Minneapolis is drawing controversy because of how it may be funded. The owners of the Minnesota United soccer club have stated that they will privately fund the stadium, which will cost an estimated $150 million, without any direct subsidies from the state. However, their proposal for the stadium included a request for a sales tax exemption of about $3 million, as well as a permanent property tax exemption.

These requested exemptions have received mixed reactions.
Some are potentially supportive of the deal. Several City Council members have asked for more details about the proposal, and Gov. Mark Dayton has said he may offer public dollars for certain stadium improvements. 
Others oppose any permanent tax exemptions. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges called the request a “public subsidy” that “will have a direct and negative impact on the taxpayers of Minneapolis.”
On Monday, the state Senate voted almost unanimously to ban state funds from being spent on the new stadium. Although the ban does not explicitly mention tax exemptions, it reflects a general opposition to the use of state money to build a privately-owned stadium. 
We agree with the Senate’s stance. As long as private money is the only source of funding, there is no problem with a new private stadium. However, a long-running property tax exemption amounts to a subsidy that Minneapolis residents should not be required to pay.