The state, city and Vikings seem to have finally settled on a deal for a new football stadium. The deal is far from perfect: Far more public money has been committed than we would have preferred, which could be better spent on education and rebuilding the state’s safety net.
But the deal has important benefits as well: The Vikings have a significant economic and psychological effect on the state, and polls have shown that the public wants the team to stay in Minnesota. While this proposal is not ideal, it is likely the best of the ones that were on the table, and if denying the deal means the Vikings would leave the state, Minnesotans in general seem to be willing to begrudgingly accept it.
That the money to pay for the stadium will not come from the state’s general fund is a point in the plan’s favor. The money will instead come from including electronic pull-tab gambling in about 2,500 bars and restaurants around the state. While the money raised from this tends to be regressive — disproportionately affecting those with lower incomes — and therefore not ideal, the money will be coming from those who choose to spend it rather than from a blanket increase in taxes on the entire population.
The deal will also mean the Vikings will play some games at TCF Bank Stadium, bringing the University of Minnesota revenue. A portion of this revenue — the same percentage that students paid to construct the stadium — should be returned to students by cancelling future assessments of the $12.50 stadium fee. If there is sufficient revenue, stadium fees assessed to currently enrolled students during previous semesters should also be refunded. This proposal is far from perfect but on balance will still benefit the state, the city and students.