Some of the details of the Vikings stadium bill seem crazy. I said seem crazy. Maybe there is perfectly justifiable reasoning lurking just under the text of this plan, but I'm not seeing it yet. From the Star Tribune's article by Mike Kaszuba and Kevin Duchschere, who have been doing yeoman's work on this stuff [emphasis below mine]:
The bill would have the Vikings pay $1 for every $2 paid by state and local taxpayers for the project. The state's contribution, up to $300 million, would come from naming rights revenue and a buffet of user taxes, including a sports memorabilia tax, a pro football player income tax surcharge and a Vikings lottery game. Local governments could levy a sales tax of up to a half cent, as well as separate entertainment, lodging, liquor, food and beverage taxes.
I'm at the point where a plan in which the State passes an exemption to allow localities to raise taxes without a voter referendum doesn't shock me (though, it would be nice if they did that with something like schools and bridges, as opposed to stadiums). I'm at the point where raising money from lottery games, as despicable of a lower-class tax as there is, doesn't surprise me. I'm at the point where the entity that gets to keep all of the profits of said stadium are asked to pay only a third of the costs doesn't shock me. Essentially, you have to come up with something pretty gobsmackingly hypocritical to surprise me anymore.
And taxing the very NFL players who work in the state to pay for your stadium is pretty goddamn ridiculous. The owners right now have locked out players because they say they need another One Billion Dollars, at least in part, to build new stadiums. At the exact time they are making that argument public, The Vikings are (presumably) helping to craft legislation that singles those players out again and taxes them to pay more of their salary into the building of their stadium. No one knows what the exact percentage of the proposed "pro football player income tax surcharge" would be, but whatever it is would be unfair to the point where I wonder if it would even be legal. Can one's taxes be altered based on an individual's profession? Could the State of Minnesota just one day decide, "Doctors do pretty good--they all now pay one extra percent compared to everyone else in their tax bracket?"
Dear Vikings: here's an idea--the next time a year with no salary cap rolls around, instead of handing a 40 year old QB almost 20 million dollars, you stash that money away in a Rainy Day Stadium Fund. Just a thought! Seriously, if you can tax professional football players a "surcharge" on their taxes, maybe you can do that with all of the very well compensated front office guys at the Vikings who made decisions like the one I just mentioned. Don't they deserve to have to help pay for this thing?
I say all that, knowing full well that this bill, as it has been discussed so far, doesn't stand a chance of getting passed. But I feel it is important to highlight really bad ideas, even the ones that doesn't stand a chance of passing, just so everyone knows what kind of people are in charge of coming up with this stadium plan.