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Thursday, April 06, 2006 

Stadiums in Play

Something that I managed to miss entirely yesterday is the progress, in both the House and the Senate, that the various stadium proposals made. Moving the most quickly is the Gopher/TCF Bank Stadium proposal, which passed House Ways and Means yesterday and hits the House floor for debate in just a couple of hours (the House convenes at 3:00). Amendments will undoubtedly get thrown around, and I'd imagine the bill might change a bit from one or more of them, but unless something changes drastically, the bill will pass with a comfortable margin.

These stadium proposals are all bad news, each in its own particular way. The U should be prioritizing in other areas. This deal is bad for students, bad for Minnesota. Students will be paying more through fees even as tuition is going up. We get to name the new campus fixture "TCF Bank Stadium", and yet I still don't think the U is paying the share that it should be for a project that is not central to its mission. As for the other two stadiums, under the current proposals we're giving the Twins and the Vikings corporate welfare. The Twins I can at least sympathize with - they struggle to draw fans, and the Metrodome really is a crummy place to watch baseball. Even so, Carl Pohlad has a lot of money, Major League Baseball has a lot of money, and we should be helping to fill the gaps in the project, not subsidizing Carl Pohlad wholesale, which is what we're doing under the current proposal. The Vikings proposal is absolute highway robbery. The Vikings sell out just about every game in the Metrodome, and they make a hell of a lot of money doing it. The Metrodome is not that bad a place to watch football, though admittedly it's not the best place in the world either. Thus, with the amount of money the Vikings organization makes, Zygi Wilf has, and the NFL could afford, we shouldn't be putting this much money into the pot.

I'm not opposed to the stadiums - in fact, I'd love to see all three built. I'm not even totally opposed to seeing some state money go into them. I am, however, opposed to the state, taxpayers, students, and fans getting screwed. The way I see it, we're just not getting a good enough deal yet, and we should be holding out and putting pressure on the three organizations to make proposals that taxpayers can swallow. Carl Pohlad, Zygi Wilf, MLB, and the NFL can afford to sweeten their offers.

As a side note, other than Phil Krinkie, most Republicans haven't put up much opposition to the proposals. In fact, several are their biggest boosters. What happened to fiscal conservatism? What happened to the free market?

UPDATE: Debate is about to begin. If you're interested in watching, you can catch it here. Someone should liveblog this if they are able; it will certainly be one of the more interesting debates of this legislative session.

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This is an odd senerio. First off for the governor to flip flop to the level that his singing of a stadium bill would be is beyond belief and a complete betrayal to those that put him into office.

It seems to me the momentum on all 3 stadiums is the the result of failed logic.

We have two seprate debates here, one should we pay for pro stadiums, and two which proposals make the most sense.

On issue one it seems the decision of NO has been pretty loud and clear. That of course leaves the Gophers as the only candidate elegible.

But then we move back to the second question and others are saying wait a darn second logically speaking the Gophers should be third in line, so even though we have said a clear no on them we have to do it for them if we're gonna do it for the Gophers.

In the end I think this is just more election year BS where people like the Governor want to look good to both sides of the issue, and to do that all 3 stadium bills must be stalled before it gets to his desk.

If it's gonna happen it will be all 3 at once, but I wouldn't bet on it.

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