Aw crap, more state politics. This time we’re talking new stadium agreements, and the fun begins in Minnesota, where the Vikings have agreed to terms on a partnership with the taxpayers for the creation of a $975 million stadium. The team will pay $477 million toward the new facility, while the state and Minneapolis will pay the other $498 million. This is truly a remarkable day for unions between the people and the billionaires who take all of their money.
But before you go shopping for new tailgate gear, Vikings fans, you should probably know that you will never ever be able to see just how that taxpayer money is being spent, because the state gave the Vikings a “blanket protection” that allows Zygi Wilf and Co. to be super secretive about everything they do. Hooray, democracy!
One provision would shield “any financial information” from the team from public eyes. Critics say the blanket protection goes beyond state law, leaving taxpayers in the dark.
“We now have the largest public commitment in the state’s history in an agreement with the Vikings, and we have an unprecedented lack of disclosure,” said Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, who voted against the stadium bill. (Via the Seattle Times)
Basically, Governor Mark Dayton and a team of people that he will choose will be able to check in on the finances of the Vikings and their new stadium whenever they want. And if they see something they don’t like, they can handle it internally. But even if it’s something totally f*cked up, the public still can’t see it. Dayton might as well cut the stadium’s ribbon, scream, “HEY, LOOK OVER THERE!” and light a pile of money on fire.
Over in St. Louis, the Rams are currently working out the kinks of a deal with the city to keep the Edward Jones Dome at the forefront of NFL facilities, so fans can watch 5 consecutive losing seasons shine in luxury seating. In their lease with the city, the Rams require their stadium to be in the “First Tier” of the league, so they have pushed a bill for $124 million under the nose of mayor Francis Slay to upgrade the dome and add 6,000 more seats.
There’s just one teeny tiny little catch… it’s actually $700 million.
The proposal first submitted by the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Bureau checked in at $124 million. Jeff Rainford, Slay’s chief of staff, said the CVC hired a construction firm to provide a cost estimate for the dome’s proposed renovations.
Rainford also said the construction would cause the city to lose some of its larger downtown convention, costing the economy $500 million. (Via NFL.com)
But don’t worry, Rams fans. Your city has to pay up or the team will probably move somewhere that will build them a nicer stadium in 2014. So everyone throw a few extra bucks into the coffee can and let’s sit back and wonder which Top 5 pick the Rams will have next year.