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Tuesday Talk: Where do you stand on stadium financing?

May 01, 2012 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

Strong communities help build public sports venues as part of their long-term planning. Instead, conservative fiscal policy has forced us to hastily plug deficit after deficit, scraping just enough funding to meet immediate education, public health, and transportation needs. Now that the time has come to build a new stadium, Minnesota is left to rely on a hodgepodge of shaky funding plans.

From a policy perspective, where do you stand on the stadium financing issue? 

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  • Norm Hanson says:

    May 1, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I am ambivalent about the stadium, that is,a bout the need for public financing of the park.  Granted, there will be some good jobs for our friends in the trades for 3-4 years and many low paying service jobs for stadium workers after that.  On the other hand, just as we have seen with the Target and Excel Centers, the predicted revenue streams have not been sufficient to keep Minneapolis and St. Paul from coming back to the legislature for more money to keep them running, maintained and so on.  In addition, as is clearly indicated by the Twins organization, once the new stadium was in place, the owners no longer had any incentive to field a competitive team as we saw last year and as we are seeing again this year.  No reason to think that the same thing won’t happen with the Vikings and, of course, it also has happened with the Timberwolves and the Wild.  Get the new playpen with a large taxpayer outlay and then stop worrying about fielding competitive teams.

  • Mike Hicks says:

    May 1, 2012 at 7:54 am

    The numbers I’ve been able to find for the Metrodome say the stadium itself cost $55 to $68 million, built from 1979 to 1982.  Using 1980 as the start year, that translates to $153 to $189 million today.

    It was a compromise design, and possibly too much of a compromise to really work well.  However, I don’t quite understand what makes it so hard to renovate the Dome rather than having to build something completely new.  The BC Place Stadium renovation in Vancouver shows that a Metrodome-like structure can be transformed for a cost that’s much less than what’s been proposed for a new stadium.

    Sure, the Dome might become unusable by the Vikingsfor a season or two as it is upgraded, but tweaking TCF Bank Stadium to handle NFL games and directly subsidizing the “lost” revenue due to a smaller number of seats would still be a lot less than the cost to build something new in another downtown location or in Arden Hills.

    The only upside I’ve really been able to find is that a $1 billion price tag for a new stadium (including $400 to $700 million of public debt, depending on whose numbers you believe) makes the 9-mile, $957 million Central Corridor and the 33-acre, $243 million St. Paul Union Depot restoration look cheap by comparison.

    My main issues with spending so much on a new stadium circle around the fact that it is currently owned by a club of billionaires and multi-multi-millionaires who could afford the stadium themselves if they wanted.  I’d be less annoyed by the expenditure of public dollars if the team was publicly owned in some way.  Unfortunately, NFL rules prevent public ownership even though the arrangement has worked out really well for our cross-border rivals, the Green Bay Packers.

    They’ve been able to finance multiple upgrades to Lambeau Field partly by issuing “stock” to fans in Wisconsin and across the country.  The stock is actually worthless, but it conveys enough meaning that fans are willing to shell out plenty of dough to support the team and the people who operate of the team feel a responsibility to their fans and would never threaten to sell off the team to another market.

    There are layers of ridiculousness here, and I just don’t think the current options are worth it.  Keep the stadium downtown where we’ve got the transportation infrastructure, and preferably just upgrade the Metrodome rather than put up something new.

  • Dan says:

    May 1, 2012 at 7:58 am

    My point of view is that if enough Minnesotans feel that the stadium is a good idea, and an idea worthy of public funding, then go ahead and build it.  (I wouldn’t count myself in this group, but I’m willing to let the majority rule.)

    But if public funding is called for, let’s quit playing games (literally and figuratively).  Don’t use this as an excuse to expand gambling (a very inefficient tax on the poorest Minnesotans), and certainly don’s use this as an excuse to cut business taxes (that makes absolutely no sense).  Instead, go ahead and fund the project with a combo of local levies of some sort and regular MN tax revenues.

    I’m tired of politicians who claim that governments don’t need and deserve tax money.

  • Nick Schommer says:

    May 1, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Build it.
    Mix public and private money.
    Share the profit.
    Publish an annual accounting.
    Play fair.
    It’s not a zero sum game.

  • Ron Leurquin says:

    May 1, 2012 at 7:59 am

    I’m betting this topic will get lots of comments.

    Where do I stand?  Totally opposed to tax payer funding in any way for m or shape.  A stadium is a business expense and should be born by the business.  The NFL has become a legal racket and is in dire need of being put in its place with its heavy handed tactics of threats of moving. 

    Now I will backtrack jut a bit from my above comment.  I would accept public funding of infrastructure needed by a stadium (moving utilities, roads, etc).

    If public ownership were allowed, then I might be more in favor of money being extracted from my wallet to fund this, but that wont happen, will it NFL?

    I have some spare boxes if the Vikings need them for this threatened move!

  • Dan Conner says:

    May 1, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Yet another indication of how dysfunctional the GOP is.  The US Congress and State of Minnesota legislature are equally non-productive.  Either deny or approve the stadium.  Why doesn’t the GOP legislature do what they are paid to do?  Fighting shouldn’t be among them. 

    It is most fair to tax the people using the stadium, if the public must subsidize professional football.  Tax tickets, concessions, and hotels/restaurants benefitting from stadium. 

    People who can’t afford to go to a game should not have to pay a tax that richer people can go to a game.  Also, it is not fair to tax gamblers.  Gamblers already pay for their entertainment.  Pro football spectators need to learn to do the same.

  • Dan Hoxworth says:

    May 1, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Financing a stadium specifically and only for the MN Vikings raises questions about priorities and to whom the benefits accrue.

    If this is an economic development tool, then allow the economic development benefits to pay for the stadium.  How much risk in this day and age do government entities want to take if the new venture is not successful?  How would this impact other priorities is maintenance and other costs are higher?

    There is much private gain to be made from a new stadium. How should this windfall be shared with the public/governmental investors?

    Finally, what truly is the amount of “skin in the game” by the Vikings?  The public and not the Vikings should receive the revenues from any naming rights to the Stadium especially if the public is the lead investor.  So what truly is the amount of real dollars to be put up by the Vikings and the NFL?

    Right now, the public financing for the stadium proposal is not geared to capture dollars raised by the impact of the stadium.  If a stadium is to be financed, looking at tourism taxes—hotel/motel, rental car and restaurant taxes would be the appropriate tools rather than using expansion of gambling as the source of revenue. 

    Right now, the stadium solution is half-baked.  It needs to go back in the oven and come back with a solution that is fair to Minnesotans and minimizes the risk exposure for future generations.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    May 1, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Sports is an addiction Joe, no different and strongly associated with gambling, anouther addiction without an intoxication. Historically the Colluseum has been a way to control the masses as well as to keep them from focusing on REAL problems. It is a tool of division that helps rulers divide and conquor the oppresed. If you addicts want a stadium, keep your grubby theiving fingers out of my wallet in any way shape or form. Much like Caffine, you can and will live without sports. It is also a healthy life style choice, (getting of the couch and getting some real exercise POTATOE).

  • Willie says:

    May 1, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Does one get the impression that Sheeran favors more spending on everything.
    Personally I believe that public financing of stadiums without participating in the appreciation of the teams increase in value is totally without merit. Even then it is marginal.

  • James Nye says:

    May 1, 2012 at 8:12 am

    I feel we should support a stadium as a a civic enterprise, preferably funded by A state wide tax on alcohol.

    But! the interest of Minnesota should also be taken into account.
    For example, the state & city is funding 2/3s of the cost so if the team is ever sold it should be compensated on the percentage of the increased value of the team because of the new stadium .

    Also the state should also get a percentage of the moneys received for parking, naming rights, and moneys obtained from the suites sold.

  • Peter Latner says:

    May 1, 2012 at 8:21 am

    I’m against it.  Vehemently.  It’s a half-billion dollar handout to the last guy in Minnesota who needs it.  It’s bad history repeating itself.  It’s funny math, with no good punchline.  And it’s a shameless, cynical betrayal of the democratic process.

  • Soren Sorensen says:

    May 1, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I like the idea of a people’s stadium - a public, free place for people to gather and enjoy free speech, share meals, we should ask OccupyMinnesota where the want it and what they want it to look like.

    Professional major league football doesn’t deserve public subsidy, require public financing, or need to lead to an expansion of gambling.

    If Wilf and his bankers with Goldman Sachs come up with the money on their own for 100% of the stadium, I see no good case for blocking that development, though some will raise the hazards players pose to each other in brain injuries, and the hazards they pose to the larger community with their characteristic flouting of drug laws, those laws against procuring sex, domestic violence and vehicular crimes.

    If we want to use public bonds to stimulate the economy we should feel free to do that in a way that means real needs of Minnesota communities - creating more medical and nursing schools that don’t require students to take on crippling debt or reward wealth above merit and natural talent.

    We need more doctors, nurses as Minnesota ages.

    We have hundreds or thousands of television channels, and an abundance of free (or nearly free) participatory, outdoor sports for ourselves and our kids - more people fish than ever go to a pro sports game.

    Zygi Wilf, Ted Mondale, Mayor Rybak and Gov. Dayton’s personal crisis about building a stadium now is not any drama that anybody else needs to get involved on. A firm no, voting down unwise public financing, new taxes and gambling expansion is all that’s required.

  • Terry says:

    May 1, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Do not forget that the stadium is an investment.  If you look at the amount of taxes the State of Minnesota has received from the salaries of the players and team executives, we paid for the Metrodome long ago.  It might take longer this time, but we will eventually get all of our money back and more.  Don’t forget that it also is an investment in quality of life.  Not everyone is a fan of the Vikings, but it is by far the most popular sports franchise in the state (not to mention in the Dakotas).  Finally, we should not make the mistake we made with the Lakers and the North Stars.  We spent a lot more money getting new teams than we would have spent keeping them.  It is a “no brainer”.  Just get it done!

  • Brandan Fiedler says:

    May 1, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I am for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium because the construction of the new stadium will create jobs during the construction.  The Minnesota Vikings are contributing $427 million.  The state of Minnesota will contribute $398 million from revenue from the electronic pull tabs and bingo.  The City of Minneapolis will contribute $150 from its existing sales tax that is paying the bonds for the Minneapolis Convention Center.  The State of Minnesota will own the new stadium and in addition to the Minnesota Vikings, other events that will be held there are state high school football championship games (Prep Bowl), NCAA Final Four, Super Bowl, etc.

  • Pat Hinderscheid says:

    May 1, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Does our State have a democracy or a plutocracy? We fought a war in Iraq stating the people there deserved a democratic government which would represent the people.  I now wonder if our own State Legislature will abide by this founding principle and respect the will of the majority of Minnesotans. 

    Polls conducted by a neutral entity have consistently shown the majority of Minnesotans do not support using public money to subsidize a Vikings stadium.  Great efforts are taken to see there is never a public vote on any funding for the stadium as it is clear it would be voted down.  There are many other reasons the legislature should not pass a Vikings stadium bill.

    • The state balanced the past budget deficit by delaying payments to our schools and the state currently owes the schools $2.4 billion dollars.  Consequently, our schools must borrow this money and there are significant financing costs reducing the funds available for our schools to operate.  In next year’s state budget Minnesota will be facing a $1.1 billion dollar shortfall for the 2014-15 cycle.  This shortfall plus the money owed the schools along with inflation will mean the state will be facing a staggering $4.5 billion deficit.  In the last 2 years my property taxes have already gone up 13%.

    • Operating cost overruns for the new Vikings stadium will ultimately be the responsibility of the public. Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis opened in 2008 and the stadium’s operating costs quickly exceeded projections leaving the public to make up the difference. 

    • There are many financial reasons for the Vikings to stay in Minnesota even without a new stadium.  We constantly hear how the team just breaks even and we are in a small market.  In 1998 Red McCombs purchased the Vikings for $250 million, it was reported Zygi Wilf purchased the team in 2005 for $600 million.  Not a bad ROI for a team wanting us to believe they are not making enough money.

    I will be optimistic that our legislatures will follow the admirable principles of our democracy by following the will of the people and not the will of the wealthy. 

  • Tom Larsen says:

    May 1, 2012 at 9:13 am

    This is classic PUBLIC expense (the legacy of football at every level in our schools, the building of HHH dome, the ASSET was created by our Common Market etc) and PRIVATE profit.

    End the extortion!. Buy the team & funnel the largesse back into education. Use eminent domain & leave the NFL owners out….Nationwide.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    May 1, 2012 at 9:16 am

    The only stadium plan I can heartily endorse is the one put forth by Senator John Marty and (I believe) Rep. Linda Runbeck.  Under their plan, the county would sell the Dome to the Wilfs for one dollar and all expenses for remodeling or replacing it would then belong—as they should—to the Vikings. As policy, it ranks on the genius level:  zero taxpayer dollars needed to retain the team and make lots of people happy. 

    The Vikings (and perhaps other Dome users) have not paid rent for the last ten years—pleading hardship.  They still refuse to open their books.  We would be giving them millions of dollars without forcing them to be honest with us.  Bad idea. 

    When the Wilfs talk about wanting an up-to-date stadium, they mean more executive suites, which they could have by remodeling parts of the Dome. They also want more parking, but can surely buy nearby property for that. 

    If a new stadium is financed in large part by various forms of gambling, how many of the poor people who spend their hard-earned money for a chance to get lucky and get rich could afford tickets to a new OR remodeled stadium?

  • Legender says:

    May 1, 2012 at 9:25 am

    There has been a continuous conversation in the Twin Cities about the stadium for as long as I have been here (July 1977). I have voted “NO” and signed petitions saying “NO” and to the best of my recollection whenever a survey is done of the issue, the majority of voters say “NO”. Stadiums do not make money for those around them; do not ensure long-term viable jobs; make big $$ for the owners and the taxpayers lose. As it stands now it seems to be another example of socializing the costs and privatizing the profits.
    In the bigger picture, I cannot understand why we think we have funds for a stadium (or should find funds), when we have cut money from our schools, our roads and other services.

  • Jerry Fruetel says:

    May 1, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Thus far, the stadium debate has focused on whether the public should, or should not, GIVE several hundred million dollars to the project. Instead, why not provide the money in the form of a long term LOAN, at market rates? That way, the team gets taxpayer support to build the stadium and remain in Minnesota, and the taxpayers get their money back over time, with interest.
    There is precedence for this. In the 1990’s, Staples Arena developers sought an outright subsidy from Los Angeles. The city refused, and successfully insisted that its support be in the form of a loan, to be fully repaid with interest, by the developer. Why are we not considering this option for the Vikings stadium?

  • Alan W Uhl says:

    May 1, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I have a couple of problems with public financing of a stadium for football, even tho such a stadium could possibly be used for other things as well.

    First of all I think football is a dying as a spectator sport because of its very harmful nature to participants. Too many head and other body crippling injuries including some, and a growing number, intentionally inflicted. It is unwise, I believe for the public to encourage this behavior. I suppose it could be argued that the public at large should build battlegrounds if the conduct of wars would be restricted to them, but for the time being that is probably too far fetched.

    Of less importance, but still worth considering I think, is that while public expenditure, even tho socialistic, is probably a very good thing when it is helpful to the public at large, the present project under consideration hardly qualifies in comparison say to postal service, libraries, public education and health, or even, tho arguable, the Central Corridor. Additionally in the specific case of a Vikings stadium, it would seem crazy to me to ignore the fact that private enterprise is exactly the correct means for wealthy owners and the also wealthy people who would be playing in the stadium to pay for it.

    Also, It is possible that it’s time for this consideration to have a place in our discussions and that Minnesota, where some important progressive ideas have taken root in the past, is exactly the right place for it.

    Just sayin’.

  • Retha Dooley says:

    May 1, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I am of the mind that until we have assured that every child in the state has adequate, food, shelter, clothing and medical care (including dental care) we have no business funding a stadium. Why should any child go to bed hungry or cry with dental pain while billionaires seek tax breaks and funding for their sports stadium?  I’ll tell you why, because we have ‘gone round the bend’, that’s why.  We no longer care about the ‘greatest good for the greatest number’. It is a sad day when our legislators care more about millionaires and billionaires than ‘the least among us’.

  • Bill Graham says:

    May 1, 2012 at 9:57 am

    In the larger view of things, it would seem we can’t tax ourselves to pay for more teachers so that we won’t need to stuff 26 kindergarteners into one classroom.  We can’t afford $25 million to keep the Southwest Corridor LRT moving ahead.  We can’t afford more state money for public universities so that tuition might be a bit less exorbitant.  We can’t afford to provide adequate medical care for the elderly and indigent, much less create a single-payer insurance system to cover ALL Minnesotans at reasonable cost.  Housing for the homeless?  Who can afford to provide that?  There is so much that we just can’t afford, because we can’t raise the tax revenue to pay for it.

    But, we can raise taxes, mostly on people who never will afford to attend a live NFL game, so that we can build another football stadium.  We call that “economic development,” a “civic necessity” in order to keep the Twin Cities in the “major leagues.” 

    It’s not simply a case of confused priorities; it’s obscene.  I expect such thinking from the Republicans but not from DFL’ers.  I hope the Wilf Stadium bill falls flat and the Vikings will move to Los Angeles and out of our lives.  Any city who buys into major league football should expect to be the victim of a major league shake down.

    Bill Graham
    Burnsville, MN

  • John says:

    May 1, 2012 at 10:06 am

    We here in Minnesota have a professional football team, not a very good one, with not so good prospects for the future.  We are a small market and we are expected to support all of our professional sports franchises which we do not seem to be able to do very well, sell out wise.  I do not support public financing of any new professional sports complex unless of course all or the proceeds from operation of these facilities comes back to the state, which of course will not happen.  The poorest Indian Tribe in the state came forward and offered a proposal that as it seems, would have solved the financing issue with the new stadium.  I am not opposed to Indian gaming in our state and I have ocassionally contributed to the casinos.  I did like the prospect of having a new sports complex at the old ammunition site in Arden Hills because it would allow the site to be cleaned up and reused for the good of the state economy.  There is plenty of room at the Arden Hills site for a stadium, a casino, hotels, restaurants and free tailgating, something that we Minnesotans truly seem to have loved at the old Met Center site.  As an alternative I do feel that remodeling the Metrodome might be a good idea, cost wise.  I think one of two things does need to happen here very quickly, either public funding of the stadium issue goes to a vote of the people of the state of Minnesota, or the Legislature takes up the vote and shows us who they represent.  Then we can vote to re-elect or un-elect those who are supposed to be serving our needs as their constituents.

  • Margaret Schally says:

    May 1, 2012 at 10:16 am

    No public funding for sports stadiums. We have so many unmet needs, think education, transit, infrasturcture, affordable housing, programs to keep members of our society going who have long since run out of any resources, etc. It is clear the owners and other investors are perfectly capable of financing their own monuments to whichever sport they embrace. Let them do it, and pay taxes so we might be able to meet some of the needs cited above.

  • Jean Lewandowski says:

    May 1, 2012 at 10:17 am

    The great cities of the world—London, Paris, Istanbul, Moscow, Bejing—all have something in common, and it’s not sports stadiums.  It’s great public transportation.  This is what ties cities together, makes it possible for everyone (native and tourist) to access work, entertainment, retail, arts, downtown and suburbs, at minimal cost.  Stadiums benefit a few people who have businesses near the stadium, wealthy players and owners, and the few who can actually afford to attend games.  I live in far-outstate Minnesota, so I wouldn’t personally access either a statium or public transportation in the metro area very often, but I would gladly pay a few extra dollars for the improvement of metro transportation, because it benefits so many people, as opposed to a stadium, which is just for the few.

  • geothermaljones says:

    May 1, 2012 at 10:50 am

    The NFL is on pace to broadcast games on a pay per view basis. If public monies are used for funding, the NFL should insure that public airwaves will broadcast games, for the life of the league, and the public will never have to purchase the rights to watch the NFL network, ESPN/ESPN2 or cable/satellite of any sorts. Monday & Thursday Night games are on cable already.

    Mpls/Henn. Co. (via the lapdog Met Council) got the Twins stadium proposal(in Lowertown) placed on the St. Paul city ballot (back in 1999 or ?) in order to have it voted down & allow Target field to be built w/o the public vote required by Mpls city laws… They rained on Blaine/Anoka Co’s parade by blocking the handshake deal with the Wilfs. They stopped the Arden Hills plan in it’s tracks with their impressive 2 page double spaced “plan” to build it somewhere in Mpls with funds yet to be determined… Dayton, Mondale, Rybek, & the Met Council want in Mpls & nowhere else. Let Mpls taxes fund it entirely.

  • Katie says:

    May 1, 2012 at 10:51 am

    No public funds for billion-dollar corporations!  No public funds for stadiums!  What’s done is done, but no new funds.  We need to be raising and spending money for the poor, for education, and for services.

    I strongly oppose public funds for stadiums, and you should too, MN 2020.  Shame on you for taking such a pro-corporate-welfare stance as a “progressive” organization.

  • Rod Halvorson says:

    May 1, 2012 at 11:01 am

    It is an utter waste of time and money.  Both would be better spent on lobbying Congress and the President on a legislative prohibition of all national sport leagues using blackmail, extortion and regional competition to rip-off taxpayers in any state.

  • Chris Murphy says:

    May 1, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Actually most all these cities have large national sports stadiums (i.e. Wembley Stadium in London, Stade de France in Paris, Bejining National Stadium) that were built and paid for by their governments.

  • Mike Rivard says:

    May 1, 2012 at 11:15 am

    $$$ for a private sports stadium is…obscene. It is truly crazy. Even if the taxpayers owned the team, it would be stupid. It is private deal and if owners want a stadium, they pay for it. It is so wacko for the public to fund their profits.
    That loud sucking noise would be the millions of bucks leaving the state. Don’t do it.

  • Brian Berggren says:

    May 1, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Only promoters and politicians could justify demolition of a paid-for stadium with a new playing field and roof, selling a mystery-funded $398 million state bonding program at an annual cost of $38 million to get the Wilfs an additional $22-25 million to “remain competitive”.  Minneapolis is in for another $150 million (or is it $339 million per Rybak on 3/13), while still begging for help with its’ “black-hole” Target Center liabilities.  Another $7.5 million is expected to be needed annually for operating expenses – from some source other than the Vikings.

    Then we get to the Wilfs’$427 million in Monopoly Money from naming rights, seat licenses, memorabilia tax, and the NFL loan, plus Zigi’s pocket lint.  You would like to think our scam artists could put $20-plus million a year of actual money into Zygi’s pocket without embarrassing themselves, bankrupting the community or enraging the 65,000 ticket buyers and the odd thousands that wear purple and white on Sundays.

  • Gary says:

    May 1, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I can’t believe legislators are EVEN considering putting public money into a stadium for foootball players that make multi-million dollar salaries every year. Let them build and pay for their OWN work space like every other corporation in Minnesota.  If there is extra state money that we can consider giving to the Vikings for this stadium, lets have the state pay off its debt to the school systems of Minnesota first!! Take care of the students of MN before providing for multi-billion dollar corporations!!

  • Sandi Karnowski says:

    May 1, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I think it would be a shame if the Vikings left.  They have been associated with MN for over 50 years.  Surely they bring revenue to the state.  I would like to have folks who attend games in the new stadium have a tax applied to their tickets and maybe to the concessions to help fund the stadium.  If we need money up front, the state could borrow it from Ziggy at the going rate of interest.  He has plenty of money and would make more on the interest he would earn from lending the state the seed money needed to initiate the building of the stadium.

    Surely our state workers need jobs and this would put plenty of people to work.  Maybe in a couple of years when the stadium is built they could be back building houses and commercial buildings again, when the economy improvs.

  • Joyce Powell says:

    May 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

    If they don’t build the stadium the team will leave. Then MN will try to get another team and will end up building a new stadium anyway costing more than doing it now. While I don’t care one way or the other and will probably never go to a game due to age etc. I do enjoy watching football.

  • Dan says:

    May 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    It’s a myth that professional sports stadiums make money for the communities that build them.  They all lose money.  They all require going back to the public trough for maintenance, improvements, etc.  That, coupled with the fact that a majority of Minnesotans are opposed to the construction of a new stadium, should be enough to prevent politicians from foisting yet another one on an unwilling public.  Back when Jesse Ventura was Governor, Minnesotans were polled on whether or not they wanted to subsidize any new sports stadiums and the answer was a resounding no.  I haven’t seen any significant change in public opinion on this matter, yet we’ve built both Twins and Gophers stadiums.  I expect the legislature to go for the hat trick and push a Vikings stadium bill through.  It’ll be interesting to see how they rationalize doing so.

  • John Kolstad says:

    May 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      I wrote an earlier comment but it disappeared before I could send it.  Maybe Ziggy’ watching me.  I’ll try again.
      Fact:  70% of Mpls residence are against this.  The Charter Amendment to prevent the City from spending over $10 million on sports nonsense with out a vote got 70% of the vote.  Polls indicate those who have to pay for the Corp Welfare are against it.
      This is not democracy,  this is dictatorship of the obscenely wealthy.
      I have a commercial building.  I bought it with the help of a bank, and have paid for it myself.  I fixed it up, did the maintenance,  repainted, put in new hi-efficiency furnaces, paid the prop taxes based on inflated valuations that are not challengeable,  paid $25,000 special assessments for the substandard rebuild of Lake Street, $19,000 of which was for “enhancements”  the property owner voted down at many meeting over 3 years.  They did it anyway and are making us pay for it.  It did nothing to help East Lake Street.
      My building was built in 1908 and still works fine.  The Metro Dome works fine and is paid for.  I agree with Sen. Marty, give him the Dome,  let him refurbish it anyway he wants, pay for it himself, pay the property taxes and any Special Assessments.  If it is good enough for us Small Business people,  it’s good enough for Ziggy.  This is a major reason he wants this to be a public building, no prop tax no special Assessments.  Clever.
      Ziggy doesn’t want to do any of these things.  If we build his Sports Palace, he keeps all the profits and all the appreciation of the teams value.
      This is not only undemocratic, it is anti-democratic.  This can only be described as Grand Theft Stadium.
      The Mpls City Council and our legislature have wasted untold hours and public resources because Rybak and a few DFLers and Ziggy want to please a few wealth corporations.  The Tax committee alone has spend 25 hours hearing this issue.  The most shocking was to see someone from Goldman Sachs testify [they are supposedly working to finance the Vikings share].  So here we have a Corporate Criminal company that was a major contributor to one the most serious financial crashes in history,  trying to con Minnesota into another Bad Deal.  This company’s executive belong in jail,  not testifying before our Senate.
      Someone commented “remember this an investment”.  Sounds like someone gave him this talking point.  Investment for Whom?  Benefit for Whom?  Should this person not understand what investment means;  you put money or resources into something to later benefit from the results.  The Viking Stadium is not an investment, it is a scam.  We put the money in, and Ziggy gets the money out.  A real investment is Public Schools, Streets, Public Buildings,  Fire Department, [I was going to say Police, but with their conduct in Mpls and nationally,  I’m not sure that is a benefit],
      If this gentleman wants to find a Real investment,  my advise is buy stock in companies that make Torches and Pitch Forks.  I see them being in big demand real soon.
      The SBA says there are 450,000 small businesses in MN.  Yet our City and Mayor and State Legislature are spending enormous amounts of time and resources on one business.  The Viking Lobbyist say this will create 7500 jobs,  but independent analysis says maybe 650 full time equivalent, and they are temporary.  On the other hand the MN House Research Service study shows that Small Business created 90% of the new jobs in MN and SBA says Small Biz Provides 50+% of existing jobs.  So Small Business is really the Big Business in Minnesota,  but neither the City nor the State do a single thing to help this important business sector and I can detail numerous things these government entities are doing to harm and retard the small business sector.  Politicians always pay Lip Service to small business,  however once elected the Money Class takes over our political institutions.
      So,  Tax the Rich, End the Wars and make obscenely wealth people finance their own projects.  Clearly our elective, political process is failing the people of the State,  this is not Ziggy’s fault alone, though he has done everything he can in secret to corrupt the process.  Ultimately it is our fault as Citizens.  We vote these people in and supported the corrupt political parties that support bad public policy that benefit the few.  So,  it is our responsibility,  get the torches and pitchforks ready.  Let’s Go!

  • Clark Bergman says:

    May 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Sorry Joe (Sheran), but I strongly disagree!  I am certainly not a political conservative but I do not buy the notion that “strong communities” build stadiums to house professional sports teams.  And, I assume, rebuild these stadiums whenever the sports teams demand upgraded facilities. 

    The Vikings and NFL contend that the Metrodome is no longer economically viable.  They state this as fact without any proof.  How much more money is the proposed stadium going to bring in?  The capacity, 65,000, is the same as the Metrodome.  Maybe there will be twice as many box seats.  Unless tickets cost a lot more, I don’t think this thing flies financially.  $975 million to increase income less than the interest on the principal?

    Major league sports are out of control financially.  Let them build their own business facility and let them leave if they want.

  • owen says:

    May 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Living in outstate Minnesota, I have absolutely no problem with pro teams buiding their own venues. Just don’t use my tax dollars for it.

  • Sue Jensen says:

    May 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Build the stadium! Does everyone understand what it will cost if it doesn’t get built?

  • Bernie says:

    May 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    The new stadium is projected to cost $975 million. Think of what the state could do with $975 million.  Perhaps build another 14 miles of light rail? Oh, forgot, $975 million is not enough to build 14 miles of light rail. Wise up, build the stadium. It’s good for the city, and good for the state.

  • Comment for Sue Jensen, from John E. says:

    May 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Sue, if you could explain to all of us, What exactly will it cost we the taxpayers if we don’t build the new stadium for the Vikings.  Thank you.

  • Marlene Delott says:

    May 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    At a time when people are literally starving and without housing - it sucks—- to be giving subsidies to rich folk—so some idiots have an excuse to let off steam & get drunk—- it’s part of the pandering to the rich—- let’s get back to sports being fun and not another exploitation

  • Leo says:

    May 1, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Others have made great points about how misplaced our priorities have become for our legislature and gov to even consider huge subsidies for profit- making sports companies when our state’s commitment to our shared commons- our schools, infrastructure, and a liveable environment have been shortchanged.  You want us (people who can’t afford Vikings tix)to invest in the team? Then give us public ownership of the team and accountability for what will be spent, and then collect earnings from this “investment” for use in the general fund.
    The buck has to stop somewhere on public funding of stadiums-let it be in Minnesota.

  • Dan Conner says:

    May 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Build the stadium only if the legislature properly prioritizes helping the poor, disabled, and elderly people in Minnesota first.  If there is money for fat cats to entertain themselves, certainly there is money to take care of people in desperate need of it.  Man, we are a spoiled nation.

    Most every study done, shows that public subsidized stadiums are a loser.  They cost more than they return to the public.

  • Susan Rengstorf says:

    May 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    The fact that the Vikings are asking for this during what most of us would call very hard times, just goes to show how out of touch they are with ordinary people, who they are asking to pay higher taxes to fund their playground for the rich. Ask them to stay and play where they are, or ask them to move somewhere else. We can always watch them on cable. I don’t care to spend one cent on a new stadium, and the more they keep asking, the more I wish they would just move.

  • Mike T. says:

    May 1, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Gary: you are 100% right.  The owner group of the Vikes could build this thing by themselves, but they have seen other owners in the league shakedown their respective cities and they know it works: Pure fear-mongering.  If The legislature gets sucked into this, I would hope that a provision such as “...full payback of the public investment plus interest due upon sale of the club” is in there.  Also, if they are looking for funding, the sweetheart deal that the tribes have regarding their gambling proceeds (no taxes!) should be rethought.  Is everything truly on the table as we so often hear?

  • Warren olson says:

    May 1, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    It requires no intelligence to see that the Viking’s owners and management are holding the various politicians of both parties hostage in the quest for a new stadium.  Why don’t these same politicians stop the political gamesmanship, as well as putting the public on a hook for close to $400 million and simply demand that the Wilf organization put the $400 million up.  That would put the burden on them as to whether they want to play ball here in Minnesota or elsewhere.

  • owen says:

    May 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    John E. I’m anxious to hear the response too.

  • Lisa says:

    May 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Where are the Vikings promising to move to if we don’t build it ?

  • Clark Bergman says:

    May 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Through 2:21 PM, there have been 42 comments by different people.  My assessment is that 33 are opposed to devoting public tax $ for building a new Vikings stadium and 9 are either strongly or mildly in favor of doing so.

    21+ % in favor of something is not a strong endorsement.  Beware the legislator who goes against this tide!

  • Ginny says:

    May 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    What? How much would it cost now and in the next 25-30 years?

  • Ginny says:

    May 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    It IS a genius plan. I read a letter to the editor (Strib) recently that suggested if corporations and other businesses are pushing it for the Twin Cities to make this a more desirable metro area, let them pay for it.
    If they don’t have the money, neither do we.
    And let us be sure none of us ends up paying for maintenance.

  • Bill Lorentz says:

    May 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    John you are so right. Republicans use Julie Rosen of Fairmont to sponsor this corporate welfare. She is pretty much unchalleged for reelection in FAIRMONT. She will raise taxes on metro people to build a stadium because republicans in metro know full well if put to a referendum the stadium would be defeated in a landslide. The problem for republicans is they want to give Ziggy his corporate welfare but are afraid their constituants will vote them out. No rebublican has the balls to come out big time for a stadium. They are looking for a way to get someone in safe districts to do the work. Any legislator who votes for this corporate welfare should be targeted for defeat. Metro legilators against the stadium make sure Julie Rosen and Fairmont area gets no special treatment in the future. Cut Farm Subsidies would be a good idea.

  • Brenda Travis says:

    May 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    When there is not enough money to properly pay schools and cities are doing without, it makes no sense to use taxpayer’s monies for a new stadium.

  • Francis Lemke says:

    May 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    This is another piece of legislation that will have no winners as far as politicians are concerned. Either way they vote they will be chewed out. Why not put it on a ballot this fall and see if it can garner 51%. You see football has become pretty elitist to the extent that most people can’t afford to go to a game. The new stadium caters mostly to people with money. There is little doubt it brings money into the Twin Cities area, but that wealth is distributed narrowly among hotels, motels, restaurants, parking lots and the employees who work there. Still, most people would not like to see the Vikings go away, which will happen if nothing gets done.

  • Carol Johansen says:

    May 1, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Is it an idle threat, that they’ll move to L.A. if we don’t kick in all those big bucks?  I say let them go, or let billionaire Zygi pay for his own stadium.

  • Anne Marie Kronick says:

    May 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I am one who was vehemently opposed to public funding for any sports venues, rabidly so you might say.  However, I have changed my mind.  It’s been a slow process but I see the benefit to the city of building a new stadium especially on the site of the Metrodome.  I’ve lived in Minneapolis since 1968 in a nice neighborhood, near the lakes, lots of conveniences near me.  I moved downtown in 2003 and though many people are also moving here, Elliot Park is a desert of surface parking lots, no grocery stores, group homes, and non-profit owned rental units.  I have no problem with any of these as my neighbors at all.  However, if the dome is left to die, this neighborhood will go downhill fast.  I suggest reading Sam Grabarski’s column in the latest Southwest Journal.  I’ve always poo-pooed the idea that professional sports bring in lots of money and cachet to a city but i now believe that it does.  It gives us a national publicity and we make more money from visitors, conventions, and sporting events.  This is money from outside the city even outside our state.  I’m an ardent left-wing, public school, universal healthcare supporter, no subsidies to millionaires, higher taxes on the rich Democrat.  I can’t for the life of me figure out how the whole idea of the public building stadiums started but I doubt that we will change it, so I think we should take advantage of it.  Bringing in more money to the city will give us the extra money we need to pay for our schools, assist the poor and uninsured.  It was not an easy change but I did change my mind and I hope we get a bill passed to build it - here on the Metrodome site in Elliot Park.

  • Jon Hayenga says:

    May 1, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    If the Vikings want a new stadium tell them to build their own stadium. Why do we the people of Minnesota have to pay for it? Why do we have to slash their taxes?
    The Vikings will get a new stadium barely spending a penny for it.
    What do We the People get? A losing football team. Higher taxes. And another excuse not to spend money in the Twin Cities.
    I can hear people now, But the Vikings bring in so much money to Minnesota. Really? When was the last time brought in to my little town. Sure Minneapolis probably seems money, but what about the rest of us???
    Mr. Millionaire, Spend some money and build your own stadium.

  • Rosalie S. says:

    May 1, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    When we restore funding that has been gutter from our schools and agencies over the past decade or more, I will worry about another stadium.  The Vikings have been whining about the Dome since it was built—FOR THEM.  And oh, by the way, a number of recently constructed buildings were torn down to accomodate the Metrodome, one of which was a multimillion dollar new Juvenile Detention Center.  Wasting MORE tax dollars to accomodate the Vikings is way down at the bottom of my list.

  • Joan Clarkson says:

    May 2, 2012 at 12:02 am

    I echo the majority of comments that have been expressed here about the insanity of spending our tax dollars on a sports stadium when there are so many other important issues needing our attention and dollars.  I know the Vikings are beloved by many, but I bet the majority of Minneapolis residents object to having to bear the brunt of financing a stadium to benefit the profits of so few.  I have supported the administration of RT Ryback but am very disappointing in his position on this issue.  There are too many other community needs.

  • Travis says:

    May 2, 2012 at 12:13 am

    that is like saying my car works fine and will last a long time yet but maybe i better buy a new one now because in 8 years they will be more expensive.

  • scubee says:

    May 2, 2012 at 1:27 am

    I have 3 ideas about the stadium:

    1. let the billionaire make his own investment in his team. He owns it.

    2. Give the lant to a native american tribe that is currently not owner of a casino with a provision that they buy the team from Zigi and allow them to build and maintain a casino on the land alongside whatever stadiom they want to build, or leave the dome as is.

    3. Negotiate a deal with Zigi where we, the citizens of Minnesota (NOT Hennepin County, or Minneapolis, ir St. Paul) own a stake in the team equal to the value of the team with a new stadium.

  • Gerry Nelson says:

    May 2, 2012 at 5:46 am

    Yes, the Vikings have been here for quit some time.  So has our capital building and our infrastructure.  Please use that money to fix those things.  The money needed to build the viking stadium is the not the issue.  It’s where the money is coming from.  Senators, law makers and Governor…if you want the stadium, put up your money.  Your herd of constituants are running out of milk.

  • Francis Lemke says:

    May 2, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Lots of good comments on both sides of this stadium issue including one regarding public ownership of the Vikings team. But, how could that be worked out? Lots of years of discussion on this topic. Regarding the lack of adequate funding for other things like schools, roads, parks, sewer/ water systems: part of the problem is that we have too much of it! We have SPRAWLED OUT all over tarnation, charging developers way too little for all the maintenance for all the development that has been done in the last 50 years around the State. Once a road has been built by a developer to State and/or County specs, that road is turned over to the government, which then has to maintain that road in perpetuity, and that maintenance is expensive. The same thing is true for all other facilities—- once they are built they have to be maintained and it is becoming increasingly expensive. Many people are resisting paying all this money for all this miscellaneous infrastructure arguing perhaps that they use very little of it, while paying for all of it.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    May 2, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Yesterday (May 1), Republican supporters of the stadium put forth another new idea:  they would disallow gambling as a way to pay the state’s share of a stadium and instead pay the bonds sold to get the money over time from the general fund.

    I can’t decide which plan is worse.

  • Dan Conner says:

    May 2, 2012 at 12:18 pm


    Purchase of the Vikings would be easy if Congress would revoke the exemption from anti-trust laws that they give professional football.  The NFL won’t sell to cities.  Take away the exemption and they’ll have to sell to the highest bidder.

  • Ginny says:

    May 2, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    First we pay for the stadium, then we pay to maintain it, which includes the cost of extra security and so on, and then we pay from $25 to 5 or more (I didn’t check all the seating costs) for a ticket—multiply that by number of people going since few go alone, and pretty soon it’s adding up to real money. “The People’s Stadium”? Governor?

  • Sara W says:

    May 3, 2012 at 12:15 am

    The cost to you—the taxpayer—$77.00 a ticket for thirty years (or $93.00, if you count tax expenditures).This isn’t a public sports facility.  It’s being built to maximize profits for a private corporation. If we were building a public sports facility, we would be having a different conversation—a different plan, and certainly a different scope (no need for elite luxury boxes, for one).  This stadium should be built if the Vikings think they need it—but with predominately private funds.  It’s time for the people of Minnesota (and the Vikings) to set an example and blaze the trail toward a new way of financing this big business—private investment. Studies have been done proving that this would be both feasible and profitable for the investors. It’s time to change the conversation and start talking about privately funded sports stadiums.

  • Lisa says:

    May 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    If Mr. Ziggy can not afford to build his Vikings a home, why not sell stock in his team. His biggest fans then could buy stock, be owners & build their own stadium without the help of taxpayers. I am sick of the NFL, Mr. Ziggy & the Vikings asking the taxpayers to support them.

  • Lisa says:

    May 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    I keep hearing the excuse that we need to build this stadium because it will provide jobs. Fixing roads and bridges,  hiring laidoff, teachers, fire fightes, police officers and health care workers will also provide jobs. Why not spend mone to help the regular working person rather than millionair ball players.

  • Francis Lemke says:

    May 3, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    That sounds so simple! Football is a monopoly under Fed law? I know that I will never be buying a ticket for the Vikings so I am not keen about paying for their stadium. If “free enterprise” is so great, why won’t they pay for it themselves?? Or better yet: Ask the players to kick in from their salaries. Consider it an investment which, hopefully, will be paid back with interest in the years ahead.

  • Francis Lemke says:

    May 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Yeah, it is a terrible idea. If the Vikings can’t turn a profit and pay the bonds, then the State of Minnesota would be on the hook for the entire amount of bonds issued. At least that is what I got out of their “discussions”. The owner(s) and players of the Vikings should find a way to do it the free enterprise way, and leave the taxpayers out of this deal.

  • Ginny says:

    May 3, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    What’s so discouraging is that almost no one wants this stadium enough to fund it through taxpayer money, several sensible alternatives have been presented here, and in the end, we are going to end up with it and pay for it.
    Maybe we should go OCCUPY the gov, the legislature, and the viking offices. Maybe we should refuse to pay our share of this railroaded purchase.

  • Bill Lorentz says:

    May 3, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Maybe the Vikings could move to the moon. Newt Gingrich could be the 1st president there and publicly subsidize the team there. It’s a republican idea with phony democrats like Rybak supporting them.

  • Ron Holch says:

    May 3, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    With all due respect, I am confused by the premise that “strong communities help build sports stadiums”. 
    I think that the definition of a “Strong Community” is one that fulfills its commitments to maintaining the commons(i.e. schools, maintenance of infrastructure , roads , police and fire protection, nonprofit cultural venues such as the Minnesota Orchestra, etc) all of which are currently underfunded.
    I would submit that strong communities stand up to corporate for profit entertainment bullies and say no to massive corporate welfare for wealthy

    Ron Holch

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    May 4, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Thanks, Ron, for the reminder that the overall goal of government should be to serve the common good. 

    At present, the media, the legislature and the governor are fully focused on whether and how this one piece of the common good, a private sports facility, while ignoring the fact that the Republican House pushed through—without any public testimony and without much real debate—HF 8, the health care plan written by Gottwalt in the House and Hann in the Senate. 

    Minnesota would, under this plan, get Medicaid funds as a block the state would control. I’m assuming the destitute will still get emergency room care, but for everyone else HF 8 limits the state’s contribution to 80% of the cost of premiums.  Families must buy a separate policy for each member and pay a minumum deductible of $3,000 over the course of a year in co-pays and penalties of various kinds. 

    To me, transferring a great share of the cost of health care away from government to patients will do far greater harm than even the long-term cost of a stadium.

    The bill would also require the state to refuse to set up an exchange, in violation of the federal health care law.  This refusal is an ALEC-pushed “compact” signed by right-wing legislators here and elsewhere.

  • Tom says:

    May 5, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Generally, I am opposed to public funding of sports venues and the like; however, in the current economy, the people in the construction trades are hurting worse than most, because of the state of the residential and commercial building markets. Those “guys” are really hurting. (here, “guys” is intended to by gender-neutral!)

    So, I agree with Gov Dayton that, like the WPA and the CCC in the Depression, a new stadium partly funded by public money would be a good thing for Minnesota, in the current economic context.

  • ej says:

    May 6, 2012 at 11:21 am

    lets get it done,remember elections are coming up in minn its time for a change.

  • Dan Conner says:

    May 7, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I think Minnesota is really blessed to have Governor Dayton.  He is actually doing what helps people in Minnesota, not imposing some narrow religious code on the people.  Dayto supports the stadium for the jobs it brings to the state, not for some self-interested entertainment value.  Thank God for Dayton!

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    May 7, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Wow Dan thats a remarkable turn around from when he was less than human for taking on Margret and the party. Let’s examine Marks greatness for a moment. One of his first acts this year was to start a war over his supposed right to become the states number one Union organizer, as a result we got at least one amendment ballot we did not want or expect to see. Al Qui was a good governor who actually was able to deal with the opposing party and get things done. Dayton reborn now seems to consider himself the parties standard bearer, a designation he holds no right to. His public temper tantrums with legislative party leadership have been uninspiring at best, undermining at worst. Our poor little rich boy with a soul for the middle class has steadfastly failed those of us on the poor end of the stick again.

  • Al Uhl says:

    May 10, 2012 at 9:26 am

    As I suggested before, Pro Football’s direction is not so great. Here’s and Item from today’s Trojan Report at USC:

    “Junior Seau was found dead Wednesday in news that should have stunned because he was only 43, because he was playing in the NFL just three seasons ago, because the trigger finger that killed him apparently was his own.

    “The news crawled into your morning while at the gym, on a television, along the bottom of a screen that was showing a story about, you’re not even sure now, President Obama or something.

    “Yeah, the news should have stunned, but you’ve heard it before. Here was another former NFL player who lived in unspoken darkness, the latest body to surface in a gathering river of flesh that suggests the game of football is much more brutal than anyone ever thought.”

    While the stadium idea would be a reasonable way to get some money flowing it is a poor substitute for shoveling a billion in loose Twenties out of a few deftly placed airplanes. Open gate gladiator shows were better for thrills and attendance.

  • Abby says:

    May 14, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I personally, will not vote for anyone who voted for this stadium.

    We closed down the telephone lines to the capital years ago to show our dismany
    to usinging our money for the private sports entertainment businesss.

    The Mpls voters voted to put a stop to legislatures spending our money on schemes that dont improve our lives nor give any returns.  Why were they ignored?

    Secret meetings are illigal, where is our attorney general?

  • Abby says:

    November 12, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Years ago, we opposed using tax money for national sports stadiums, we closed the phone system to the capital, Minneapolis voted on using tax money for these purposes, and voted “NO”, and did the politicians listen,, that is a no. I have never attended an NFL, NBA, or Twins game, and there are thousands like me, but to be forced to fund owners of these franchises is just wrong.  There are many reasons to be proud of past legislatures, who created the beaches, parks, zoos, to be used by everyone, the public hockey rinks, tennis, and basketball courts, but the job of our legislatures is to take care of their people, not fund the wealthy.  And I remain embarrassed every time I watch the news and see the drunken and painted fans of TV sports.

    • Dan Conner says:

      November 15, 2013 at 9:39 am

      Abby, I certainly understand your frustration.  Cities and states clamor for stadiums because of the very localized revenue it brings in, but that revenue only benefits businesses who “piggy-back” off stadium business.  And you’re right it primarily benefits the rich.  I think the rich have got to be made to understand that they too received welfare…lots and lots of it.  Maybe, some of the heartless rush to cut benefits for the poor should be dovetailed with a cut in benefits for the rich.  In this way, they can both simultaneously pay the price.  Right now, the rich assault the poor because of the $$$ they spend to lobby Congress.  They are buying our government.