From The Star Tribune:
"After a Vikings official publicly criticized Gov. Tim Pawlenty for not showing enough leadership on a new stadium, Pawlenty met with owner Zygi Wilf late last week and a team official said the Vikings were 'pleased' with the outcome."
Please tell me why it is Minnesota's elected governor's job to show "leadership" on getting a new stadium built for Mr. Wilf's privately owned business. Vikings--show your own damn leadership. You can build a stadium--who is stopping you?
The Vikings may as well criticize me for not showing leadership on NASA's latest space mission. Or I could criticize my new dog for failing to show leadership on getting the laundry done.
But the article ends with some sanity:
"Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said the governor told Wilf that the team is 'an important part of the fabric of Minnesota, but that the focus at the Capitol is on dealing with the state budget deficit and the difficult economic situation.'"
In my mind, I keep paralleling a new Viking stadium with the Mall of America. The Mall of America has received public funding, at the very least for "public infrastructure" (though this money may be paid back, if I'm reading it correctly). But it's hard to doubt that a building which is open daily and year round and which exists almost exclusively for spending money, has brought in a consistent stream of tourists to the region, and has created a lot of jobs (in fact, the MOA claims it contributes $1.8 billion annually to the state's economy, and also claims that it annually "generates approximately $55 million in state and local taxes, and has generated more than $800 million in total taxes since opening 15 years ago"). In this case, any public financing appears justifiable.
I'm not opposed to occasional public financing for private industry, if the benefit to the public can be concretely expressed (or sometimes not even concretely--I don't oppose public financing of arts because of the cultural and educational benefit). Can the Vikings claim that public financing of a stadium would bring such a return to the public?