Vikings Make Case for Public Funding for Stadium

Although people on both sides of the argument agree that the aging Metrodome needs to be replaced, there is a heated debate about whether taxpayers should help fund a new stadium.

Both proponents and opponents of a new Vikings stadium met Wednesday at the University of Minnesota to debate whether taxpayer dollars should be used to build a new facility.

A Minnesota Vikings official made his case why the team believes public funding should help finance the new stadium, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Jeff Anderson, the Vikings' assistant director of public affairs, argued that the proposed stadium should receive public funding because the NFL team generates tax revenue, jobs, and public service for the community.

He said that the Metrodome has generated $340 million in tax revenue, and the Vikings were responsible for $186 million.

People on both sides of the argument don't contest that the 29-year-old Metrodome needs to be replaced-the sticking point remains whether public funds should be allocated to the project, according to the report.

Former Minneapolis Federal Reserve Research Director Art Rolnick refuted Anderson's points, stating that the team's contribution to tax revenues and job creation mirror those provided by Minnesota corporations like General Mills and 3M-and the team should receive the same treatment as the state's businesses.

“If you can't fund your business, if you can't get your customers to pay the price for your services, you go out of business,” Rolnick reportedly said.

While the state faces a $5 billion budget deficit, Rolnick argued that other issues-such as education and an aging infrastructure-should take priority over a sports stadium.

State Senator John Marty of Roseville, a Democrat, echoed Rolnick's argument that the team should be treated the same as Minnesota's corporations. He cited a Star Tribune poll that found that 75 percent of Minnesota residents don't support using taxpayer dollars to fund a stadium.

“There are some things [government] shouldn't be involved in, and I'd argue that subsidies to private businesses is something we shouldn't be involved in,” he said.

Read the entire Associated Press story (made available by the Star Tribune) here.