$180 per family every year

Robin Hood in Reverse

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The Anoka County Board is proposing a new .75% sales tax to subsidize a new Vikings stadium.

Who pays?  According to the County, this works out to $180 per year for a typical family of four living in Anoka County.  Over 30 years, the tax would cost the typical family $5,400. 

Who benefits?  This taxpayer-funded subsidy is requested by Zygi Wilf and the Minnesota Vikings who stand to increase their annual profits by millions of dollars.  Not that they are hurting now -- last year the Vikings had estimated earnings of $15.6 million. In addition, the estimated value of the team has increased by an additional $58 million from the reported $600 million that Mr. Wilf and his fellow investors paid less than a year ago. (Forbes Magazine, NFL Valuations)

The Anoka County Board is playing Robin Hood in Reverse.  Their proposal would take $180 every year, from thousands of ordinary families, and give $18 million each year in a subsidy for a handful of wealthy investors.

Most residents will never get to a Vikings game in the new stadium.  Setting aside all the seats that will be reserved for those who can afford season tickets, luxury suites, or personal seat licenses, there will probably be less than 8000 single game seats available in the stadium for middle class Minnesotans. Even if those tickets were reserved only for Anoka County residents, that still wouldn't leave much chance for most of the 320,000 residents to ever get to a game.  And, with all the competition for those few seats, the ticket prices will not be cheap.  

For many families, the $180 annual tax increase will not be welcome.  And for families who struggle to pay for necessities, the tax will not be easy to afford.

Perhaps that is why the County Board received Mr. Wilf's approval, but wants an exemption from the law so they don't need to get approval from the voters.

John Marty