Taxpayers League's poll says majority of Minneapolis opposes Vikings stadium plan

kevin reich crop.jpg
As the last swing vote, it all comes down to Minneapolis City Council member Kevin Reich.
Would you want to go down in history as the city official known for running the Vikings out of Minnesota? Probably not. But what if a majority of your city's residents stood behind you when you voted "no"?

This morning, just two days before the Minneapolis City Council is expected to rubber-stamp the Vikings stadium plan, the Taxpayers League of Minnesota released a poll showing that opponents of the stadium plan outnumber supporters two-to-one.

Stadium supporters dismissed the poll results, saying the Taxpayer League's 10-day, 1,000-resident survey was "not scientific."

Here's what the Taxpayers League asked residents: "Hi, my name is ___ with Taxpayers League of Minnesota and we are calling residents asking if they support the plan to spend $675 million city tax dollars for a new Vikings stadium?" The survey found that 55 percent of residents don't support the plan, 27 percent do, and 18 percent are undecided.

Residents who said they don't support the plan were then asked if they'd like to be directly connected to a council member's office so they could leave a voicemail stating their opinion. Krinkie said Mayor R.T. Rybak has been emailing residents urging them to support the plan, which Krinkie takes a sign that it isn't an entirely sure thing a majority of the Minneapolis City Council will vote in favor come Friday. Dun-dun-dun!

The stadium plan has five staunch supporters and six staunch opponents on the 13-member council. In late March, previously undecided council members Sandra Colvin Roy and Kevin Reich came out in support of the plan, making the supporter-opponent split seven-to-six. Since the Legislature approved the plan earlier this month, Colvin Roy has reaffirmed her support. But Reich has been more evasive, meaning he will soon have his chance to go down as the man who sent the Vikings on a one-way trip to L.A., or San Antonio, or wherever a city is willing to pony up for Zygi-land.

From a WCCO report published Monday:

Opponents say the best chance of defeating the stadium is switching the anticipated "yes" vote of council member Kevin Reich, who alone among the seven council stadium supporters signed a more vaguely worded letter of support [in late March].

Reich did not return WCCO's phone calls.

However, stadium supporters, including council President Barb Johnson, said Reich is a firm "yes" vote.



"I talked to Kevin just yesterday. We were at an event together and I don't have any indication he is changing his mind, and the mayor has spoken to him also," said Johnson.

The stadium drama could finally come to an end Friday, with the conversation shifting to facility design and construction timetables. Or we could be headed for a major plot twist, with the City Council's "no" vote invalidating all of this spring's legislative wrangling. Which way we're headed probably comes down to Reich's vote, which is almost certainly the most consequential decision he'll ever make.

Related coverage:
-- Vikings stadium bill receives final legislative approval; Mpls City Council vote last step
-- Majority of Minneapolis City Council now supports Vikings stadium
-- Vikings, Rybak, Dayton, pro-Vikes legislators finally unveil stadium plan
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41 comments
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jww
jww

Who gives a shit about the technicalities of whether or not the city charter applies?  Doesn't anybody have a problem with extending a special tax to line the pockets of a billionaire who isn't from and doesn't even live in MN?  Live news coverage of Zygmund flying into to town on his private jet to collect his check doesn't strike you as being totally fucking bizarre?   Is anybody bothered by the fact that the NFL is TAX EXEMPT yet we're extending a SPECIAL TAX to fund a stadium for THEM.  They need to borrow $600,000 (before interest and all the other peripheral expenses) but can afford to pay ONE Employee (Peterson) $100,000,000.  You're not even slightly swayed by the factual research that shows virtually no economic benefit coming from stadiums?  But, but, but, but the Twins stadium brings a lot of people and money to the city.  Well, they do play 81 games at home...but, guess what, people were already coming to the warehouse district to spend money.  But, but, but, but, the public will get to use it 355 days per year.  Use it for what...the one weekend that it will host the state highschool football tournament?  Are staduims actually tourist attractions?  The thought of that is really depressing.  Do people really need a billion dollar rollerblading facility?  Do people even still rollerblade?  I'll let anybody use my driveway for $2.00 and even give them full garden hose privileges for drinkin'.  I'll come out and admit that I like football but don't give one shit about the Vikings.  Name one thing they're good at besides being the most arrested team in football.  They're an embarassment on and off of the field.  If they stay, fine.  Build your own fucking staduim.  If they leave, I've got some luggage in my basement that they can have. 

amiller92
amiller92

The NFL is not tax exempt.  What are you talking about?  Direct taxes paid to the state by the team, it's employees and visiting teams are around $20 mil a year.

As for the warehouse district, I take it you didn't visit before the Target Center was built.  Or between the Target Center and Target Field.  Each has had a huge impact.

jww
jww

The National Football League is organized as a 501(c) 6 organization, numbnuts.  As for the warehouse district, I visited it long before Target Field.  I have lived in Minneapolis and have owned a business that had an office on the Nicollet Mall for a number of years. 

jww
jww

You dumb.

jww
jww

Daunte:

Actually the fans aren't getting shit, numbnuts.  They're being held hostage while your out-of-town hero Zygmund blackmails the legislature into buying him a stadium.  It actually doesn't bother me at all that he has money, or even that he got it mostly as a result of his parent's hard work (although that might explain his obvious sense of entitlement).  It does bother me, though, that people like you are unable to identify fraud or vulgar irony...even when its spelled out for you in ALL CAPS (note: I actually use the shift key).  People like you are the main reason I turn down free tickets to Vikings games.  You're a fan-boy, a dupe and an ambassador for the lowest-common-denominator.  You listen only to the news you want to hear and are a perpetual rider of the bandwagon.  I haven't lost anything.  I moved my home and my business out of Minneapolis over 5 years ago.  I don't play pull-tabs, I don't buy Vikings merchandise, and I stopped going to bars in the Warehouse District long ago.  I've grown up and learned to identify shit long before I step in it.  So have fun at the new stadium, Daunte.  Get yourself a slice of Papa John's pizza, paint you face purple and swat your buddy on the ass.  And maybe, if you're lucky, you'll get the chance to sniff your hero Zygmund's throne....you know before he sells it and moves back to New Jersey.

Daunte
Daunte

I could care less whether Zygi is from Minnesota. The whole "NEW JERSEY BILLIONARE!!!!!!!!" outrage is juvenile. Its not his fault that no Minnesota-based group stepped up and purchased the team. You are jealous that Zygi Wilf has been very successful, it enrages you, and that's sad.

The NFL is tax exempt, but they aren't borrowing money from the state. The Vikings are, and they are not tax exempt, numbnuts. As amiller92 points out, they contribute upwards of $20mm a year in tax revenue. And half of Adrian Peterson's salary is subject to Minnesota income tax so quit crying about that.

You lost, jww. The Vikings and their fans are getting a $1B stadium and you can't stop it, that must be infuriating to you. But I'm sure you'll find a way to vent your anger by deploying caps-lock-laden rants across message boards and comment sections.

cags777
cags777

If you want them to leave, fine. Then I want you to pick up the extra taxes I'll have to pay due to the stupidity of our elected officials.

jww
jww

If you spend any money at Minneapolis businesses you're already paying extra taxes, dipshit.  Further, I would bet my soul that I already pay more taxes than you anyhow.

jww
jww

Correction: not $600,000.  It's $600,000,000.  I'm not used to typing that many zeros.

East Coast Doug
East Coast Doug

This demonstrates that our 'elected' officials have no belief in following the law.  They have the balls to do a complete end-around of the City Charter, knowing that us serfs are completely powerless - so shut up and take it.   I urge everyone, not to vote, in any election.  The Repbulicans and Democrats are a two headed monster.

amiller92
amiller92

The state directed the use of funds collected within the city to be spent on a stadium.  The City Charter is irrelevant.

Even if that were not the case, the state explicitly said the City Charter does not apply.  Because the city is subordinate to the state, and because any and all city power exists only via delegation from the state, the City Charter does not apply.

East Coast Doug
East Coast Doug

@amiller92  The idea of a referendum for a sports stadium was to protect the citizens of Minneapolis from friviouls spending.  Don't tell me that Mpls isn't going to spend more than $10 million in indirect costs.  Of course they are.

Some of the additional taxes collected by the city (hotel / entertainment / food / city sales / .5% convention center tax) could be used to lower property taxes.   But our 'elected lords' aren't going to ask the state to do that. 

What a con, what an insult to every citizen of Minneapolis.  Worse than the old Soviet Union, IMO.

Daunte
Daunte

The Charter argument is just about the weakest argument that opponents can pursue - yet they believe its their only remaining hope.

Minneapolitans did not, and could not, pass a charter amendment that would require a referendum of this bill. Its really that simple.

Perhaps understanding that indisputable fact, your argument instead hinges on "indirect costs" - traffic control, waste management, etc. This is the kind of "frivolous spending" that the referendum was meant "to protect the citizens of Minneapolis from"?

Against, perhaps understanding how asinine that contention appears, you swing for the fences and compare Minneapolis unfavorably to the Soviet Union. Bravo.

amiller92
amiller92

I'm aware of the idea of the referendum, except that I'd offer the more cynical interpretation that the real idea behind it is to prevent our elected leaders from having to take politically difficult votes.  They really don't like to vote on this sort of thing, because it's a lose-lose for them.  Vote yes, and angry taxpayers are upset about the subsidy.  Vote no, and the team leaves and voters are upset. So why not pass the buck to a referendum?

But none of that matters.  It's the City Charter that requires a referendum.  The City Charter is not binding on the state.  The legislature passed a bill that was signed by the governor that directs this spending.  The city charter doesn't apply to that.

Then again, maybe you're trying to be clever by saying, "indirect costs."  I'm not sure what you mean, but if you mean costs that are not included in the recent legislation, I don't know why you think the city charter, on its face, applies to things that aren't included in the bill (perhaps you mean to imply game day traffic control or something).

As for whether those taxes could be used to lower property taxes, that's just wrong.  The city doesn't get to use those taxes for anything absent this legislation.  The money would go to the state, unless the legislature somehow decided to be generous and let the city have it.

In fact, this bill does that.  It gives the city access to part of those funds to use on things like property tax reduction.  That's money the city doesn't get if it kills this deal.

As for whether it's "worse than the old Soviet Union," well, go ahead and tell me that after you end up in a Gulag in outside Rousseau.

amiller92
amiller92

Why even write about the Tax Payer's League grassroots efforts as if they are a poll?  They aren't.

(Edited with the kind assistance of Albatross.)

Jsmith036
Jsmith036

when has the taxpayer league ever cared at mpls?

Albatross
Albatross

"Why even write about the Tax Payer's League grassroots efforts as those they are a poll?  They aren't."

Is English your first language? Because what you just wrote makes no sense.

h.s
h.s

Calm down Albatross, nothing you write makes any sense either. At least amiller just has a typo. 

cags777
cags777

Any time you ask residents a question with a misleading amount, all integrity of the poll and the group goes out the window.

h.s
h.s

Yeah, where did they come up with "$675 million city tax dollars"? The bill that was signed only has the city paying $150 million, which is a redirection of existing taxes. 

East Coast Doug
East Coast Doug

@h.s.   The $675 includes intrest, maintenance costs, etc.   from the minnpos@dd6d1b4ddd09e333bd5a8b2ef569cacd:disqus 

1. $150 million toward construction costs.

2. More than $225 million toward operating costs and capital improvement costs. Minneapolis has committed to not only help build the stadium with a $150 million contribution, it’s also agreed to split the costs of operating the stadium over 30 years. This will start at around $7.5 million/yr with an estimated 3% increase per year over time. So, at least $300 million with inflation.

3. Accruing interest on our new debt while we pay off the convention center debt. That gets us to more than $375 million, which is far short of $675. What makes up the gap? Interest. How does one run up interests costs to nearly twice the cost of borrowing $150 million? I picked up some information in that during some hallway discussions during the City Council hearing on the issue tonight. As I now understand it, it’s because Minneapolis would borrow $150 million (and start paying interest on that chunk of change) years before it can start paying it back.

http://www.minnpost.com/minnes...

Daunte
Daunte

$675 is the City's estimated contribution (including inflation) for the construction and operation of the stadium over the 30-year lease period.

Albatross
Albatross

 The bill that was signed does not mention that the taxpayer is stuck with perpetual maintenance costs and interest across the life of the loan. See, these guys are slick, and they're playing you and me for fools who can't analyze a deal or read the fine print.

Daunte
Daunte

 What are you talking about? The bill clearly specified that Minneapolis and the Vikings were responsible for operating expenses.

amiller92
amiller92

That's not right ether.  The city's obligation to pay operating costs is capped.  I don't know the exact number off the top of my head, but I believe it's $7-8 million a year, adjusted for inflation, and expires at 30 years.

Colinfp
Colinfp

 Not to mention the fact that the amount will go toward the Vikings stadium, the Target Center, and the Convention Center. Completely misleading questions - a sign of desperation. I'm sure they were hoping for at least 70% opposition, too bad for them.

12 DFLers and 1 Green Party member will not be persuaded by an admittedly "unscientific poll" conducted by a conservative interest group.

Albatross
Albatross

As council member gary Schiff points out, the team is going nowhere between now and the next legislative session, when a rational deal can be worked out - such as one that gives the public a percentage of ownership for every percentage of the price paid for the stadium rather than a giveaway.

amiller92
amiller92

Except, of course, that this is a ration deal and Councilman Schiff should be ashamed of his performance at the hearing on Monday, in which he demonstrated that he didn't even know what was in the bill.  If he hasn't even read it, how can he be opposed?

Also, Albatross, you're example of a "rational" deal is not allowed under league rules.

Daunte
Daunte

 Not to mention Schiff cannot comprehend the fact that a City Council cannot amend legislation that was passed by the State Legislature. Embarrassing.

amiller92
amiller92

On that score, I think that's unfair.  He knows what he is doing.  He's trying to find a way to reject the deal without simply voting to reject it.  He hopes to get a swing vote to go his way on something that looks like a minor rider, which will have the effect of requiring new legislative action that starts the whole process over.  It's a delay tactic that could kill things overall.

I'll be interested in whether Schiff's views change after the answers he was given on Monday.  He asked, for example, why the lease wasn't longer than 30 years.  Carpenter answered that they didn't want to commit the city to further obligations to pay operating expenses, and the way the bill works, should be Vikings seek to extend, they will have to pay the operating costs.  

My guess is he's still going to offer a rider to extend the lease.

Albatross
Albatross

 Excuse me, when was the National Football League elected to run Minneapolis and spend its taxes?

Albatross
Albatross

I don't see any content of substance in this or your prior comment, ranter. Can posing a question even qualify as "ranting"?

amiller92
amiller92

Feel free to rant in what ever irrational direction you want.  

Let me know if you want to actually discuss the issue.

Daunte
Daunte

True, the team may not physically go anywhere before January, but will almost assuredly be sold to an ownership group who plans to move the team to LA after this season.

Schiff is grasping at straws, he would vote against any stadium plan, even a "rational deal (to him, Biking > Vikings). Plus, what makes you think the Legislature would be willing or able to pass a Vikings bill next session? There is zero appetite to take up this issue again, and most of the session will be (as it should) dedicated to the budget.

Political mountains were moved to put together a majority coalition in support of the stadium bill. S

Also, PUBLIC OWNERSHIP OF NFL TEAMS IS NOT ALLOWED. That should be clear to everyone, but people keep fantasizing about this notion.

In 24 hours the Committee of the Whole will approve the Vikings bill 7-6.

Albatross
Albatross

The only mountains that have been moved in this deal are mountains of cash.

I'm not talking about public ownership of the TEAMS I'm talking about public ownership of the STADIUM. That means the public has a voice in how the stadium is used, and the public gets a split of the profits. Instead this deal is a GIVEAWAY to a billionaire and all the taxpayers get to do is pay for everything.

Finally, there is a LAW in place that was specifically passed to prevent this same railroading that took place when the Twins stadium was shoved down the public's throat. This legislative deal seeks to bypass that law - why is our legislature afraid of DEMOCRACY?

Schiff himself has addressed the "Vikings will move to LA" canard quite thoroughly, I won't repeat it here.

amiller92
amiller92

Daunte - The Charter question is even clearer than that.  You're right that the state can override it. But that isn't even necessary here, because what the bill does is direct how the locally-applied special tax money is spent.  Thus because it's the state levying the tax and directing the spending, the City Charter never comes into it.

Albatross
Albatross

 As requested by JSmith036.Gary Schiff on Facebook, in response to this article:Is this the same City Pages that published this cover story? With the following "Myth #5: Myth #5: Without a New Stadium, the Vikings Will Leave The ultimate trump card in any stadium gambit is the threat to leave. In fact, it's generally the only card the team has to play, particularly after the economic arguments have been demolished and the emotional appeals exhausted. The reality is that there is minimal risk of losing the Vikings, primarily because there are several other teams—Buffalo, San Diego, Oakland, Jacksonville, and St. Louis—in markets smaller than Minneapolis that also want greater revenues and stadium fixes. Or, as Forbes put it bluntly in a 2006 article: "[C]leverly leaving the Los Angeles market devoid of a franchise since 1995 has given small and mid-market teams with shoddy ownership...the leverage they needed to coax taxpayers into building them new stadiums." Even if the L.A. ruse wasn't transparent on its face, the numbers simply don't add up. The state of California and the city of Los Angeles have no money to support stadium construction, leaving private firms like the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to fill the void. AEG wants to build a $1.1 billion open-air stadium in downtown L.A. (at a cost that could reach $1.5 billion once traffic and environmental concerns are factored in), but to make such an investment work, the company would need to retain virtually all of the stadium revenues—parking, concessions, advertising, suite rentals, etc.—plus the $700 million that Farmers Insurance has pledged over 30 years for naming rights. With the team limited to whatever booty AEG is willing to share, there's no upside to the Vikings leaving Minnesota to become a tenant at Farmer's Field. Any potential buyer of the team would face a similar predicament.

The only party that would benefit from a franchise in Los Angeles is AEG, provided they could acquire a stake in the team at a substantial discount. Given how much value a new stadium can add to a team's worth, there would be no incentive to partner with AEG—unless the owner was in dire financial straits. On top of that, the league's overall broadcast revenue will climb to nearly $7 billion per year by 2014, increasing each NFL team's annual take to approximately $218 million, almost double the current amount. Only a fool would be willing to share that kind of treasure.http://www.citypages.com/2012-03-14/n...

Jsmith036
Jsmith036

Schiff himself has addressed the "Vikings will move to LA" canard quite thoroughly, I won't repeat it here.

please repost i like to know what he said. if mpls votes down than if we keep the team in minnesota no way should a new stadium be in mpls

Daunte
Daunte

Get your facts straight.

The public will own 100% of the stadium under this bill. Decisions will be made by the Stadium Authority, comprised of citizens appointed by publicly elected officials.

The Twins stadium is financed by Hennepin County, the Minneapolis charter amendment only applies to expenditures of "city resources."

The State has every right to override a city charter, as cities are creatures of the state. In fact, Minneapolis and the Vikings have consistently stated that the legislature did not need to override the charter for the stadium because the Convention Center sales tax is not a "city resource." This point was confirmed by the City attorney.

Why are you afraid of REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY? If you don't like the decision made by your legislator, vote them out in November. That's the way it works.

You can't prove a negative, so it would be futile address Schiff's arguments about moving to LA.

amiller92
amiller92

Okay, then what are you on about?  The public will own 100% of the stadium.  It gets 100% of the non-Vikings revenues.  It gets to decide how it will be used 355 days a year.

As for that law, the City Attorney's opinion is pretty clear.  The legislature can impose a local tax and direct how it's spent, which is what this bill does, and the City Charter just doesn't apply.

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