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Monday, April 25, 2005

More stadium thoughts

After sleeping on the stadium deal, today I am less enthused about it. Perhaps I was happy to see a plan that could take this perennial issue off the table once and for all, but now I think that taxpayers will get the raw end of the deal. In order to justify the county's contribution, we would need to be getting something significant in return. Given the open-air nature of the stadium, I doubt that it could be used year-round for public service events. One poster on the Minneapolis politics discussion list suggested that we could make this a model for energy efficiency and sustainability, but is that worth all the money?

I don't know if community ownership needs to be in the mix, or something else entirely. Maybe nothing will make this a good deal for Hennepin county. I'm going to be a lot more skeptical now, though.


At 9:30 PM, April 25, 2005, Anonymous justin said...

This plan still doesn't pass the test for me. Without a referendum, it reeks of trying to sneak one by on the public.

I'm not against the Twins having a new ballpark, but if baseball can't sustain itself as a viable business model (and it IS a business) then why should the taxpayers support it? Using government to support business which is vital to the public good is one thing, but I fail to see how baseball falls into that realm. There have been numerous studies that show the possible revenue gains in surrounding businesses do not meet the money the taxpayers put in.

Furthermore, with sports recreation dollars, it has a tendancy to switch people's money from one source to another. Meaning that while a new ballpark might generate more revenue for the twins, it will take some away from theaters or museums.

And by the way, what is the mpls polticial discussion list you mention? I'm highly interested.

At 9:41 PM, April 25, 2005, Blogger MN Politics Guru said...

For the Minneapolis Issues Forum, go to http://www.e-democracy.org/mpls/

At 5:49 AM, April 26, 2005, Blogger Paul said...

I was particularly taken aback to hear someone from the Twins (I think it was Carl Pohlad) say that they really need a roof on the stadium, but that $120 million was really up to the state.

A friend needed a new roof on his house only a couple of weeks ago, and inexplicably he had to pay for it himself! What does the state think it's doing, letting people pay for their own roofs?

At 10:34 AM, April 26, 2005, Blogger DP said...

I will play the contratian here and argue for the stadium. I think it is a reasonable deal with a very small tax to pay for it. While I agree that it would be better with a roof, I wonder if that can be added on later. A few points:

While I agree that studies have shown the economic impact to be questionable, I think it is a hard thing to study. Other things such as tax revenues on concessions and player salaries (everytime A-rod plays in MN he has to pay income tax on his salary for that game)and the ability to attract new businesses to the State (I get recruitment letters all the time and they always tout pro-sports in making a city an attractive place to live) all play a role as well.

Yes Baseball is a business and as a business it will try to find the best deal. If Minneapolis won't help fund a stadium, then some other city will. That is the way the game is played. It may be unfortunate but it is reality.

Well we should take a principled stand and let the Twins leave you might say. Ok, fine, but I guarantee you 5 years from when that happens people will be talking about bringing baseball back to Minnesota (Minnesota Wild?), and when they do the cost will probably be more.

As for the John Marty argument I think it is a bit of a false choice. I did not vote for Pawlenty and his assanine 'no new taxes' pledge. If the state wants to raise my taxes to fully fund MN Care, fine, I will pay that AND the Hennepin County tax (I do live in Hennepin county) happily. If someone were to say "this money either goes to MN care or a baseball stadium" I would say fund MN Care and let the Twins go, but that is not the choice. The state is going to do what it is going to do with the budget regardless of this stadium deal.

I admit I am biased, I like sports and the Twins and want them to stay. So there it is, sorry for the long post, fire away!

At 10:36 AM, April 26, 2005, Anonymous Steve Nichols said...

Building a sports stadium for a privately owned franchise is a transfer of taxpayer dollars to the franchise, and ultimately to the athletes' paychecks.

Professional baseball teams have enough revenue to pay their expenses (including stadium costs) and to provide owners with a reasonable return on their investment.

However, these teams lack the revenue for the above costs and also to pay players large salaries.

It's bad fiscal policy.

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