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Lakeville's State Senator Calls Potential VIkings Stadium "Inconceivable"

Dave Thompson said Vikings are an asset, but thinks approving a stadium sends a bad message.

Lakeville's State Sen. Dave Thompson (R-District 36) said Wednesday that he will not be voting to support a new Vikings stadium.

He also had some harsh words for his Republican colleagues who authored the bill which would have the state and Minnesotans contribute as much as $300 million through a series of new taxes and fees, and revenue from the stadium's naming rights.

“I acknowledge the Minnesota Vikings are a state asset. However, Republicans campaigned on the message of sensible government, low taxes and decreased regulation," Thompson said in a statement. "The voters sent us a clear message."

Thompson said as legislators, he and those in the House and Senate are in the business of making tough decisions.

"The focus of the legislature should be on creating a business friendly environment that facilitates success for the Minnesota Vikings and every other job provider in our state," he said. "It is inconceivable that we would fund a stadium to help multi-million dollar athletes pay their mortgages while many middle class Minnesotans are struggling to pay theirs."

The stadium bill likely wont get its first hearing in committee until after Easter break.

Proponents of the bill, including the bill's author, State Rep. Morrie Lanning (District 09A), Moorhead, have said a new stadium is key to keeping the Vikings in Minnesota. The team's lease with the Metrodome ends next year and the team could leave for a town willing to help build a stadium, lawmakers have said.

ABSG April 14, 2011 at 08:18 PM
It would be Inconceivable without the NFL in Minnesota. I am for the Vikings stadium. It is a HUGE HUGE part of Minnesota and would be beyond deterimental to this economy. We would never ever again have NFL in Minnesota. This is just foolish on the part of democrats to dig their heels in like this. I do not believe this is how the majority feels. This needs to be up to the Citizens of the State to decide....let us Vote on it. I actually emailed Dave this morning in support of the stadium. Dave emailed back with his B&W "personal opinion". I believe Dave's opposition is a "personal opposition", his own viewpoint, his own feelings, thoughts and is not the viewpoint of the majority of citizens of this State. If his opposition turns out to be the majority than so be it, but Minnesota is making a HUGE mistake if they let the Minnesota Vikings leave this State. Inconceivable is Right!
parent taxpayer April 14, 2011 at 08:30 PM
This is a strange issue because so many have strong emotional ties to the Vikings. However, Chris, I believe the star tribune had a poll out last fall that said 70% were AGAINST using state tax money used for a new stadium. If it was put to a ballot question on if people wanted to be taxed more somehow, I'm pretty sure it would never pass. (The twins stadium passed because they didn't let people vote on it.) Despite what future comments here maybe, I think state funded stadium supporters will be in the minority.
parent taxpayer April 14, 2011 at 08:35 PM
75% didn't want public financing for a new stadium. that might have changed some after the fab season the Vike's just had (joke) . Or gone down with the dome roof too. http://www.startribune.com/politics/105646548.html?source=error
ABSG April 14, 2011 at 09:08 PM
I didn't make a comment on how the stadium would be financed and whether or not I am for or against a tax increase. I am for the Vikings Stadium using an agreed upon method of paying for it...that is obviously the biggest challenge to come to an agreement and I still think it will get down in the darkness of night like the Twins stadium. I would support a combination of ideas...I don't think it has to come from just a tax increase. I would probably agree, if that was the only option given to citizens it would be dead in the water. Again, I think they would be making a HUGE mistake by saying no. However, I say open up racino, slots at Cantebury and gambling downtown Block-E, ask the owners to anty up more, players to contribute, a souvenir tax, the State would receive some revenue from advertising until a cetain point...etc......there is no reason a combination of ideas couldn't be used. It has to get done...
Terry Elliott April 15, 2011 at 01:56 AM
The only basis on which the state should provide investment in a Vikings stadium is in return for a share of the proceeds. I don't mean the fuzzy math of higher sales taxes from hotels and bars, etc., but I mean we become a partner to the Vikings just like any other capital provider. If they want the state to be a bank, then they get to pay us back with interest over a reasonable period.
Gopher April 15, 2011 at 12:11 PM
Please do not use a Star and Tribune poll reflect what Minnesotans want. Those polls are for entertainment use only, not scientifically based.
Kari April 15, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Thank you Dave Thompson for helping set our priorities straight. I am not anti-Vikings, and I agree it would be a sad day if they leave the state over this. But while your reason to support this is to better the economy - the future of the Minnesota. What about investing in our youth? Let's put our children first in the priority list! What message does it send when our government is willing to support this stadium push, while at the same time, looking for every possible reason and way to cut funding to education? Isn't an investment in our youth also an investment in the future of Minnesota? Unfortunately, our schools can't "threaten" to leave the state if they don't get adequate funding.
Deborah Nelson April 15, 2011 at 01:06 PM
Sometimes politics and issues make strange bedfellows. Senator Thompson is wrong. A new stadium would be an economic boon as well as an emotional one for our community. Look at Target field. We bring business to our community by being a competitive one. Find a way to bring a new Vikings stadium or our collective pride in our home will fade.
Phillip April 15, 2011 at 01:23 PM
The State, County and Cities should only support a stadium as they would any other request for support from a business. Sometimes TIF is used, along with other methods. However, I also believe that businesses need to cough up and pay for their own facilities. If you need a new building to increase revenue, why burdeon the State or other communities? Other businesses would simply re-allocate their budgets or raise the cost of the product they sell. Either get tough with the NFL players/coaches and tell them to reduce their requests for outrageous salaries so they can have new digs, or let them be laid off to reduce costs and allow room for internal capital - or charge more for tickets to see your product.
Dean April 15, 2011 at 01:29 PM
If we lose the Vikings because they won't pay their own way, so be it. I agree with Senator Thompson. I would be more open to the idea of we the people becoming an "investor" with the expectation of a reasonable rate of return as Terry suggests.
Phillip April 15, 2011 at 01:34 PM
I agree that kids should be a priority. However, continuing to throw money at schools won't necessarily result in an investment in our youth. Restructing education requirements like curriculums that actually prepare kids to function and be productive in the world would be a nice change. Not every child is born to be an engineer, nor is every child born with musical talent, so why require the same courses for kids? Being well rounded is great, but it doesn't keep you off the unemployment line.
Gopher April 15, 2011 at 06:36 PM
For those who do not wan to buy a stadium for the billionaire ...and point out study after study on the poor economics of publicly funded stadiums, why would your own governor claim the Metrodome produced a "phenomenal economic return?" Was he lying? Or is he secretly an evil Conservative who loves the rich and hates the poor? Or it is simply that most of those studies are just plain wrong, proving that many self-anointed "expert" intellectuals who depend on public funding to pay for their salaries are clearly biased against any competition for said public funds? Hmmm...
dave kempkes April 15, 2011 at 09:02 PM
too bad. Ziggy really is only interested in landing the new place in arden hills, so he can sell off the 200 acres ajoining it to retail and hotels. Ziggy is more interested in lining his pockets than helping the state of minnesota. Can anyone say "red mccombs"? remember him, only interested in making his money. Honestly, start playing football, and WIN, then talk about it. Ziggy wants a new place to play, go to california. The taxes will bankrupt him there, TRUST me, I came from there.
Authentically Right April 27, 2011 at 03:31 PM
Where sports are concerned, brains go out the window. If the proposal was to finance new playground equipment the taxpayers would be entitled to vote, via referendum, on whether or not to add an increase in sales taxes. When it concerns billionaire sports teams suddenly it becomes TOO IMPORTANT to allow mere mortals to participate in the decision making. Where professional sports are concerned no amount of lying and cover-up is too much.
Jim Paulson April 28, 2011 at 02:40 AM
Senator Thompson is absolutely correct! Either the Vikings and Wilfs can build the stadium and revel in all of the revenue it produces or leave town! I like the Vikings as much as anyone but I am sick and tired of being held hostage and paying additional amounts of my income to further enrich the rich! Unless and until Minnesotans and in fact all Americans start thinking rationally about the financial situation we face, unacceptable, unaffordable and unsustainable spending will continue to be the mantra chanted by adults who should know better. Government should stay out of private enterprise PERIOD! Thank you Senator Thompson for using common sense and telling it like it is!
ABSG April 28, 2011 at 11:44 AM
Jim - you need to realize the enormous benefits that come with having the Vikings and the Stadium. Billions of dollars are attracted and captured having not only the Vikings, but more so with having a stadium. Just think of the numerous events that are held at stadiums outside of just football. This State will lose out on ALL of those things.....without a stadium their is an enormous trickle down effect to products and services that this State benefits from. Some of those benefits may even benefit the company you work for that keep you employed! Think outside the box! Do the math, you are not having to give up hundereds of dollars of your income. I don't like the million dollar atheletes/owners anymore than you do, but I can see the bigger picture! As for Thompson's PERSONAL OPINION on the issue, it is just that, an OPINION! He is not the Majority and he needs to get in touch with what his responsibility is as a representative of the PEOPLE, because certainly is not his own self serving interests or his personal thoughts/feelings! I could care less what he thinks/feels!
Duane Sheaser April 28, 2011 at 03:19 PM
Why should we pay for one more stadium when the tax payers are already struggling to make ends meet. So how can a broke state pay for a stadium when there is no money to pay for it. you may not think a one half cent sales tax is a small amount to pay however when it's added to everything you need the amount is enormous !!!! Even if you build a stadium thay can still move and change there mind and leave the state with the bill !!
Authentically Right April 28, 2011 at 08:03 PM
I've lived here all my life. In that time we have built the old Metro stadium, the old ice arena in Bloomington, the St Paul Civic Center which we subsequently replaced (again at taxpayer expense) with the Excel Energy Center, Target Center, the Hefty Dome, and the latest: the Stadium on the U campus. All this plus the various incarnations of the Minneapolis Convention Center. With each and every one of these projects we were told " We'll all get rich! Businesses will sprout up around it like weeds in a vacant lot! Money will fall from the sky! There will be so many jobs we won't even need a welfare program! We'll all retire by forty! Rich I tell you, rich! We can't afford not to build ... whatever, fill in the blank. I have yet to get my first check. I live in Hennepin county so I get to pay the taxes. I get no check. In order for me to gain entry to these stadiums, that we all supposedly own, I must pay a fee to a private enterprise. I'm not allowed to actually use any of them. The team owner's... now they get checks! I don't. It is often said that there are various and sundry businesses that exist in the vicinity of these stadium's that gain advantage from them. I don't. Just once can't we learn from experience and tell these people to build their own damned stadium? We can start a new national trend! Minnesotans are always bragging about being trend-setters. Here's a wonderful new trend to establish.
Kari April 28, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Well said and I agree with your last comment too.
ABSG April 28, 2011 at 08:52 PM
Authentically Right - just move to Iowa then if you dislike paying a few dollars to make our State a better place for numerous reasons....Iowa has Nothing and that's why they are the donkey's ass of every joke!
Authentically Right April 29, 2011 at 04:01 AM
Gee Chris, I guess you didn't read the whole comment. It's not a matter of spending a few dollars to make our state a better place. It's about spending close to a billion dollars to duplicate what we've already paid for several times in the past. Building a new stadium for the billionaire team owner won't make our state a better place. In fact it won't noticeably change it- we already have several perfectly good stadiums. What it will do is further enrich the billionaire team owner and further impoverish the rest of us. We will be stuck paying for it for the rest of our lives- long after the billionaire team owner inevitably takes his profit through sale of the team and leaves. However, Chris I don't think you clearly or honestly stated what you really meant. What is really of concern to you, I suspect, is that you like watching people in purple shirts play a children's game called football. You're probably worried that if we refuse to build them a stadium they will start playing football wearing shirts of a different color in a different venue. You worry that you won't be able to form the same emotional attachment to that color shirt in that venue. You want us to spend close to a billion dollars so that you can continue to emote over this particular group of millionaires in purple shirts as they pursue a very dangerous, physically punishing children's game whose sole purpose is to sell beer and pick-up trucks.
ABSG April 29, 2011 at 11:50 AM
I read your whole comment. Secondly, I am not a huge football fan as you apparently think I am, but nice try. I enjoy it, but I didn't go to any games last year, nor do I own a jersey, nor did I watch every football game last year either. I however can open my eyes wider to the larger picture of what a state of the art stadium could bring this State. The Vikings will only use the stadium I believe 11 times a year.....the rest of the year the state will benefit from it, bringing in billions of dollars. By having ammenities such as a multipurpose stadium you attract more events than you apparently understand. Just because we have the Xcel Center, Target Center and Target Field they all serve different purposes. You need a variety ameneties to make Minnesota more attractive for a multitidude of things. It's fine if you don't want another stadium, we each have our own opinion. I however don't want Minnesota to become some boring place to live, a State where businesses, events and whatever else never want to come because we don't offer anything let alone have anything. Ask Meet Minneapolis, the Bloomington Convention Visitors Buruea or Visit Saint Paul visitor bureau what the benefits of a football stadium would bring to this state. What the benefits that Target Field/Xcel Energy Center have/will eventually bring to this State? I can almost guarentee you they will say it is so important to have these State assets.
ABSG April 29, 2011 at 11:59 AM
Think of it this way....just because you don't want to pay for a stadium is no different than an eldery person, a single person or a couple without children that do not want to pass levies for our schools. Why should they have to pass levies to help other peoples kids??? If they want better schools make them pay for it! Because some of them understand the bigger picture of what passing a levy brings to a community....it develops the next genertation, it enriches the community, it attracts more people, businesses etc........
Authentically Right April 29, 2011 at 01:39 PM
Chris, there is a difference in building a school a library or a highway which will benefit the public at large and a stadium. A stadium only benefits one part of the public- the team owner. Everybody else gets to pay to build the stadium and must then pay to access it to enrich only on entity-the team owner. A public good is useful to every one, usually without further cost for use, and it doesn't benefit a single enterprise-the team owner. We already have stadiums which meet all the needs and uses you cite except the one I cite-enrichment of the team owner at the expense of everyone else. Yes, all the government entities you name are all anxious to build using tax payers' dollars. They're anxious to build almost anything using tax funding and for good reason. They're stupid. All they can see is how the building anything from gold plated fountains to a permanent a concert venue for Lady Gaga will funnel tax revenues to their constituents in the contracting and building trades. They translate that as support at election time. Yes, a stadium will bring dollars to the state- for the team owner. It will bring tax increases for everyone else. As I said earlier: I have never gotten a check from any of these enterprises, I do have to pay higher taxes.
Authentically Right April 29, 2011 at 01:40 PM
As far as businesses choosing to locate in any particular location on the basis of available entertainment, let us please put that old dog to sleep, he won't hunt anymore if he ever did. That argument might have had some validity back in the 1930s. Now we have things called cars and televisions and computers and radios. Having a source of entertainment physically close by is no longer any kind of a real consideration. Now businesses look at things like profitability and that involves the tax load. Taxes affect profits: higher taxes=lower profits. Since shares of companies are sold on the open market world wide the share owners couldn't care less what the entertainment situation is in the vicinity of the production facility. Don't believe me? Take a look at the growth rate of Sioux Falls vs Minneapolis. Sioux falls hasn't got any of the things you name. When one asks would they like to have them the people there laugh and ask do they look stupid or what? Why, they will query, does the asker think they moved their business out Minneapolis in the first place?
ABSG April 29, 2011 at 02:02 PM
LOL - you sure have a hang up with the owner. Yes, they make money and they have a right to make money like any other business. I guess the owner of Taylor Corp, General Mills, UHG, Target and Best Buy should hand out some of their hard earned money to you so they can lower your property and income tax for you? Certainly, not all the money made goes to an owner, you have beat the drum to death now.....Crazy......You don't get it......Well looks like you have a few places to move to then...Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, or Montana.....you can live in an industrial business park with a Subway on the corner for your lunch breaks and the neighborhood bar so you can watch the rest of the World living on TV. Enjoy!
Terry Elliott April 29, 2011 at 04:50 PM
Agree with him or not, of course these are Rep. Thompson's opinions-- that's what he was elected for, to use his best judgement. He's not supposed to take a poll and just vote the results.
Authentically Right April 29, 2011 at 05:55 PM
Chris I don't mind the team owner making money, I hope he does. I just don't want to fund his capital investment. He can do as any other business man does and find private funding. Let that funding be reflected in his sales prices. If customers aren't willing to pay the full cost of the goods and services they receive then either the prices are too high or people just don't value the product enough to support the costs. When taxes are involved funding is done at gun point. (Try not paying your taxes.) As far as me or any other person who disagrees with you leaving the state: Chris we live in a democratic republic wherein everyone's opinion is valued. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't me he should be expelled so you can enjoy your fantasy of being part of the BIG GAME without dissent.

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