Remember how when the Minnesota Twins owners wanted public money for a new stadium and the city of Minneapolis wouldn’t give it to them, and the state of Minnesota wouldn’t give it to them, they finally found a willing partner in Hennepin County, which agreed to raise its own sales taxes to fund the project? Looks like Minnesota United, which is co-owned by the Twins owners, may be headed down a similar path:
[Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat] said Hennepin County’s soccer plan would seek to snare some of the 0.15 percent countywide sales tax collected to pay for Target Field. Bonds for the baseball park, which opened in 2010, are on track to be paid off about a decade early.
Opat envisions the money being used for enhancements like streetscapes or plazas surrounding a new soccer stadium on a site near the Minneapolis Farmers Market.
So instead of retiring the sales tax surcharge early, or directing it to something that would actually benefit Minnesota taxpayers instead of a private sports team, Opat is hoping to use it as a sweetener to get United principal owner Bill McGuire to place its stadium in Minneapolis instead of across the river in St. Paul. It’s not clear how much money this would amount to, and it would require not just a vote of the full county commission but approval by the state legislature as well, and it still doesn’t resolve the standoff between the team owners and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges over around $45 million in tax breaks for a soccer stadium. But it’s still a pretty sweet payoff for a couple of league press statements hinting that St. Paul might be an option. You have to hope that MLS commissioner Don Garber will get something extra nice in his Christmas card from McGuire this year.