MN legislature: Sorry for delay in $54m MLS stadium tax break, here’s $3m more to make it up

Last May, it looked like the Minnesota United stadium in St. Paul had the full go-ahead, after the state legislature approved a property tax exemption worth an estimated $54 million for the project. But, as it turned out, there was a snag: Whoever wrote the omnibus tax bill it was attached to accidentally put in an “or” instead of an “and” in a description of tax breaks for bingo halls — a typo that would have cost the state $100 million in tax revenue — and so the governor refused to sign it, leaving the MLS team’s tax break in limbo.

There’s nothing stopping the legislature from re-passing the bill this year, of course, so that’s exactly what they’re doing. And as an apology to the team for taking so long, they’re sweetening the deal with an additional $3 million tax break on construction materials as well:

Minnesota United team owners have said the tax exemptions are essential to moving forward with a $150 million stadium in St. Paul, though they’ve also said that they were confident the Legislature would come through. They have denied that the lack of exemptions was a hold-up for starting stadium construction.

That … what? Whoever at the St. Paul Pioneer Press was responsible for editing that paragraph really needs to have done a better job, since saying that tax exemptions are “essential” to moving forward and also not “a hold-up” to moving forward are, well, contradictory. Admittedly, it’s the kind of contradiction that team owners like to put forward — We’re going to build this either way, don’t worry, but if you don’t give us money we can’t build this — but there’s really no need for newspapers to be their enablers, now is there?

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6 comments on “MN legislature: Sorry for delay in $54m MLS stadium tax break, here’s $3m more to make it up

  1. The tax break on construction materials has always been part of the package. This is not new, as this article… reports.I would suggest that you review the many articles that mention this. It was asked for using the other stadiums in the Twin Cities as a justification, since most of them have received the same tax break.

    And the Pioneer Press is not expressing their opinion in the paragraph you quote. They are merely quoting United’s owners, who have said exactly that.

    The reason that construction of the stadium itself has not started is that it has taken a while for the utility companies to start the preliminary steps to provide infrastructure for the development. Also, the enviro clean-up has delayed the project.

    Approve of it or oppose it, fine with me. But more accuracy when relating the facts would be appreciated.

  2. The real difference in this metropolitan area is that this is the only team in town building their stadium out of pocket. Every other team including a minor league baseball and hockey team have been subsidized on the public dime.

  3. since saying that tax exemptions are “essential” to moving forward and also not “a hold-up” to moving forward are, well, contradictory.

    That’s not really fair. There are plenty of essential things that are not essential at this very moment. Roofing materials are essential to your house being completed but their absence today won’t keep them from beginning construction. In this case since they wouldn’t owe taxes immediately they could probably have waited a long time for that tax exemption to come through before it became immediately essential. Not saying those truly were essential but what the paper wrote isn’t contradictory.

    1. That would make sense if a tax break were a repair — but they’re not, they’re money. What the Pioneer Press reported is, in short, “Minnesota United says they can’t move forward with building a stadium without a tax break, but that won’t stop them from moving forward with building a stadium in the meantime.”

  4. It should be pointed out Governor Dayton’s family started Dayton’s who owns Target. Yep, that’s right Target the same shirt sponsor of MNUFC.

    1. Then let’s also point out that Target sponsored the Minnesota Thunder soccer team from 1995 to 2005 and has been a sponsor for various youth soccer clubs as well as the USYS national youth soccer organization for many years. The Governor and his family have had no personal connections to any of the above organizations. It is no surprise that Target would decide to sponsor United regardless of who the governor was or is.

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