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No reason the government should be involved in paying for this New Jersey businessman's empire at all, but since it is being considered this article points out, contrary to what the supporters say, what a losing proposition it really is.
I commend Council Member Schiff for accurately characterising the effects of Target Center on the taxpayers of Minneapolis. We also bear the costs of another huge money losing,
mis-guided "investment" the City of Minneapolis made, the Downtown Convention Center. Mr. Schiff is considerably more forthright than Mayor Rybak, who constantly makes deceptive statements. In fact, he once lied publicly about the financial condition of Target Center, referring to it as a "cash cow" when the facts point unequivocally to the exact opposite conclusion.
The gift that keeps giving and giving...
A well written informative article. Just the kind our elected officials don't want us reading right about now. Ignorance is bliss? So they say? Good reason for a referendum law regarding future public funding of sports palaces in Minneapolis? Maybe that is why 70% of the people passed it?
National worship of sports, at all costs, by couch-sitters comes home to roost! No one cares about the details.
Lots of people like to eat at LooneyBurger, and would like them to put a franchise in your county, but apparently the owners of the business don’t feel they should pay for the cost of building the necessary burger joint they need, and it costs a lot to build one. How about if we raise your taxes to pay for a LooneyBurger joint? Think of the jobs it will create! Think of the tax revenue it will bring! If we don't get a LooneyBurger in your area, they will put it in a different State! How short sighted of you to not support everyone in your county to pay higher taxes to be sure there is a LooneyBurger because life without a LooneyBurger would be unbearable and no-one will be able to sit in their parking lot and “LoonyGate” with their friends. How terrible! If the voters don't approve, then just ram it down their throats. Better yet, don’t let the voters decide, because they probably won’t make the right decision. Here is what to do. Wait until the last minute, then tell the voters that there is no time left for voters to decide, then ram the cost of a new LooneyBurger down the citizen’s throats. We all know the voters don’t know what’s good for them, and that elected officials can spend citizen’s money better than citizens can. The fact that there is a functional, warm, dry, paid-for LooneyBurger facility already in Minneapolis with a new roof and turf, is completely irreverent because the owner of the LooneyBurger franchise wants a totally new and bigger one, to pocket even more money, or will build their LooneyBurger someplace else. In fact, the owner has been very public about not being able to compete with other burger joints if they don’t get a new, larger, costly, publicly funded LooneyBurger joint. Everyone knows that the LoonyBurger people have lots of money and can easily pay for their own new LooneyJoint, but they just want others to pay for it instead. In fact they like to say that profits belong to LoonyOwners, and all losses need to be paid for by LooneyTaxpayers. LoonyFans don’t like paying the high costs of LoonyBurgers either, because they are so spendy, so they want other people to pay for them so LoonyFans can consume them, but with other people’s money. Even though San Francisco required LoonyBurger to pay for their own LoonyBurger joint, LoonyFansMinnesota want all LooneyTaxPayers in Minnesota to pay. Don’t we all get it … this is what they want. That makes it OK. Taxing everyone more, even those who can’t pay their taxes anymore, and even those who have never been at LooneyBurger, just makes a lot of good sense. LooneyBurger or die is the only motto to have. Minnesota could never survive without our own taxpayer funded LooneyBerger, rammed down our throats by our LooneyLegislators.
Another interesting facet of this story is the political one. These terrible decisions were made almost exclusively by DFL-backed politicians - the ones that Republicans like to accuse of being "socialist." Well, this was socialism alright, but only for the rich and powerful interests. In other words, it just goes to show how little difference there is between the two parties, and how rotted our political establishment is. The interests of the ordinary taxpayer are not represented by either major party.
This is a great article. Every politician should read it. We, through our elected representatives, have become dangerously casual about taking on debt at federal, state and even city levels of government. Conceptually, most can support long-term debt for the creation of a long-term asset that is truly a public good. Regrettably, in today’s politics, the definition of what is a public good is without limits. This is a by-product of our acceptance of the ever-expansive role of government. Once defined as a public good, advocates have a direct line to taxpayers, or in this case future taxpayers including my grandchildren.
I would also like to commend Eric Wieffering for his courage to write this article. He will be receiving the scorn of the powerful who favor a government-funded Viking stadium. I hope I am wrong, but I suspect that he will be getting emails and probably phone messages from a few extreme advocates calling him names that may very well frighten his family. Advocates of the stadium try to paint people against stadium funding as simple-minded people unable to understand the economic benefits of government-funded stadium. The reality is the facts are on the side of those opposed to the stadium, at least the facts based on arithmetic. Thank you Eric Wieffering!
This is an accurate article and consistent with other city/county investments throughout America. But this is not just what happens with sports facilities. Museums, covention centers, and arts/theatre projects are all 'losers' and are consistently 'sold' to taxpayers as essential for the health of the city. They all begin with financial analysis by 'experts' who project them to be viable and then, of course, prove otherwise. These same 'experts' are used throughout the country with consistent results. Yet our public officials act on their analysis and approve public funding. It's what politicians do -- they make decisions on the spending of other people's money. And it's not their fault, they say, because the 'experts' said it was supposed to make money and be self-sustaining. It provides them 'cover'. However, if we don't want investment in our metro area, then we end up looking like downtown Detroit BEFORE they 'invested' in two new downtown stadiums for NFL football and Tigers Baseball. Did it save downtown Detroit? Of course not. Did it help? Marginally. But like most things in life, you either keep investing or you fail. We (and the author) should not be surprised. No, it's probably not right to supplement the billionaire owners of these sports enterprises, but it's what major cities/counties do. Get used to it. It's the American way to ensure long term viability and competitiveness regardless of results, accompanied with an ever-increasing budget at the city, county, state and federal levels.
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