Vikings’ stadium plan needs retooling

A new Vikings stadium moves Minnesotans to question their priorities.

A new Vikings stadium is good for Minnesota. The way the Vikings ownership proposes to pay for it, however, is not.

The proposal calls for a $675 million retractable-roof stadium to be located in Blaine. The taxpayers of Anoka County would pay for the majority – $400 million – of the stadium with another $115 million coming from the state.

Unfortunately, Anoka County is asking the state to waive state law that requires a sales tax to be passed by referendum. The county would then impose a 0.75 percent sales tax to help pay for construction. Disallowing Anoka County residents a vote on whether the stadium is right for them or if the price is reasonable is intolerable and another example of how business enterprises use their power to the detriment of regular, working people.

That said, no one doubts that a new Vikings stadium will bring many benefits to Anoka County and the state: increased jobs, a new community hub and an updated professional football stadium to name a few. But in a time when the state’s governor pledges “no new taxes” and makes massive cuts to social programs like MinnesotaCare, it is not only unrealistic to ask that amount from the state and citizens, it also moves Minnesotans to question their priorities.

This new plan also brings into question the possibility of three stadium proposals in the Legislature at once – the Gophers stadium, a state institution; the Twins stadium, which requires no state money and only a 0.15 percent sales tax; and the Vikings stadium. In an election year, all three will almost certainly not receive approval from the Legislature.

Like many other sports franchises, the Minnesota Vikings are an integral part of the state’s identity and community. Here on campus there are a large number of Vikings fans who are just as rabid about the Vikings as they are about the Gophers. Constructing a new Vikings stadium should remain a possibility, but the plan to pay for it needs to be reconstructed first. Getting rid of the $100 million retractable roof would be a good start.