MinnPost has a long analysis of the Minneapolis city taxes that will be going toward a new Minnesota Vikings stadium — none of which the city considered to be its money, since it otherwise would have gone to pay for the state-run convention center, but it’s still city taxpayers paying the bills. Mayor R.T. Rybak, notes author Ed Kohler, defended the expense as being made up of “‘Robin Hood’ taxes” that hit the rich the hardest.
In fact, though, 44.5% of the city’s tax money going to the stadium will come from a 0.5% citywide sales tax surcharge, which does precisely the opposite:
The city-wide sales tax is not a Robin Hood tax (sales taxes in general are not since people who have lower incomes spend a larger portion of their income in taxable purchases than those with higher incomes). It hits every purchase from kids buying candy to parents buying toilet paper. Pretty much anything purchased in Minneapolis outside of groceries, clothing, and services purchased will help subsidize the Vikings and Timberwolves.
This is immediately obvious when looking at a pie chart of the city taxes being used for the stadium. Which may be why the city of Minneapolis angled its pie chart to downplay the sales tax piece.
Let’s be clear: This isn’t going to bankrupt the City of Minneapolis. It’s just a matter of priorities on how to best use taxes collected city-wide and in downtown (should collect them at all). Are you willing to believe that there was no better uses for $675 million in tax revenue collected in Minneapolis than to subsidize an NFL team’s stadium and an NBA team’s arena? Me neither.
In related news, the billionaire Koch brothers‘ Americans for Prosperity Minnesota is belatedly taking an interest in the Vikings stadium issue, targeting three state legislators (two of them Republicans) for defeat because they backed the stadium bill, calling it a “give away” to corporate special interests. (MinnPost, for one, has a hard time restraining its giggles at this.) Or maybe just targeting them for defeat because they’re moderate Republicans, and the Koches hate those.