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 #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman, and has a long involvement with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport (now called the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition). We discuss the state of college athletics today, given the pressures of NIL, the transfer portal, sports gambling and huge media contracts. McMillen then provides great perspective on the poor state of physical fitness our young people are experiencing today.
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Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon