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Friday, October 09, 2009

Stadium Non-Economics

For those of us who are Minnesota Vikings fans, life is weird. After all of those years rooting against him, now we love quarterback Brett Favre. Hey, the 40-year-old, former Green Bay Packer has the Vikings at 4-0, and fans daring to dream of the Super Bowl.

But what’s not weird are pro sports teams seeking handouts and politicians willing to provide those taxpayer subsidies. In Minnesota, Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) has renewed talk about a new, largely taxpayer funded stadium for the Vikings.

According to an Associated Press story, Pawlenty said: “It's fair to say the Metrodome has served us well, but its time is fading. And so we've got to figure out a way to keep the Vikings here. We value the Vikings. They're an incredibly important asset to Minnesota.” And: “The philosophical question is, is this the appropriate time or the appropriate way to spend public dollars. But we need to find a way — setting that aside, we need to find a way to keep our Minnesota Vikings. They're exciting. They bring a lot of joy to a lot of people in our state.”

Speculation is that Pawlenty is trying to position himself as a fiscal conservative with an eye towards the 2012 presidential contest. Doling out taxpayer subsidies to a football team does not line up with fiscal conservatism. Instead, it’s just plain corporate welfare, with no economic benefits being derived by anyone except the team’s owners.

Raymond J. Keating
Chief Economist
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

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