Press coverage indicates that you will sign the bill into law prior to the Twins game on Friday. If you sign, not only will you force Hennepin County taxpayers to pay $387 million in corporate welfare sales taxes to build the stadium, but you will waive their right — by state law — to a local referendum vote on any new sales tax.
Additionally, you will seal the Minnesota Vikings’ expectations that the voter referendum will be waived for the continuation of their own stadium shakedown next year. How can you possibly defend such disenfranchisement of local voters to enrich a commercial entertainment company?
Even if you are a supporter of the public subsidization of stadiums for the benefit of private, monopoly entertainment, there is certainly no justification, other than autocracy, to deny residents the right to vote on having a tax levied upon them for such a purpose. But judging from past pledges, you are not a supporter of taxpayer funded stadiums. According to Citizens for a Stadium Tax Referendum, you pledged to specifically oppose public funding for professional sports facilities. And according to the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, you signed a Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising to “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.”
If you sign this bill, taxpayers will be on the hook for any rise in land costs at the site designated for the new stadium. With reported environmental concerns looming at the downtown site, you can be sure that you would be sticking taxpayers with open-ended costs. Further, should the Metrodome be demolished, the public would not even benefit from appreciation in the old stadium site due to a provision — as reported by the St. Paul Pioneer Press — “that would earmark most of the proceeds from the sale of the Metrodome site to a Vikings stadium.” This is the giveaway that keeps on giving-away.
Almost annually for a decade, the various legislative and voter jurisdictions in your state (from which billionaire Twins owner Carl Pohlad and his lobbyists have demanded a taxpayer handout) have emphatically said “NO!” to taxpayer funding for a Twins stadium. Now, on the brink of defeat for responsible government — reportedly due, in part, to “stadium fatigue” among legislators who just wanted the issue to be done with — lobbyists for the Twins continue to play the extortion card, as they have for years, either by threatening to leave or claiming the Twins would be contracted out of existence.
But the Twins have shown that they aren’t going anywhere. How could they? They wouldn’t leave or be contracted out of the 15th largest media market in the country (according to Nielsen Media Research). The Minneapolis-St. Paul market is larger than the Major League Baseball markets of Cleveland, Miami, Denver, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, San Diego, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Cincinnati.
The sports fans have done their part, and the taxpayers certainly have more pressing needs for tax dollars than corporate entertainment — namely public necessities of the community. Please veto the Twins’ stadium bill and tell Carl Pohlad that if he wants a profitable new stadium, he should build it, like the capitalist he purports to be, without taxpayer subsidies.
I look forward to your response.
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – The guest is Gary McCoy, a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations. Our focus is the injury pandemic in baseball, what’s causing it and how it can be fixed.
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Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
Episode #11 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Latest on Brain Trauma, Concussions and CTE with Dr. Chris Nowinski – Nowinski is CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO.
Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon