The Minnesota Timberwolves have injected themselves into the debate over taxpayer money for a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.
Ted Johnson is the chief marketing officer of the Minnesota Timberwolves, who's asking the team's fans to put the squeeze on lawmakers for a Vikings bill because it contains money for renovating Target Center.
Supporters of the idea will quickly point out that the city of Minneapolis owns Target Center, although opponents might point that when you spend money to rescue a franchise threatening to move -- the city bought Target Center when the Wolves' previous owners were threatening to move to New Orleans in the early '90s -- you can easily get stuck with a crumbling building that's eclipsed in the music world by the Xcel Center in Saint Paul.
Target Center is losing money for the city and at a news conference last year, the head of the company that manages it said spending money fixing it up will help it be "relevant."
That's something the chief tenant -- the Timberwolves -- haven't been in years, and when its owner -- Mankato's Glenn Taylor -- was asked how much he'd contribute to the deal, he didn't answer, saying only the team will "be upfront" about how much it would contribute. That was the last we've heard of it.
And that's an important part of the equation in the stadium bill because the question of how much money a wealthy owner should contribute to a project that benefits him is very much at the heart of the debate. And Zygi Wilf, the Vikings' owner, is a very rich man, with an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion.
Glenn Taylor is no Zygi Wilf. His net worth is $1.8 billion. Only 255 people in the U.S. are richer.
lined up like pigs at the trough
Arrrrrrrrrg! These two people have a combined worth around 3,000 million dollars (aka 3 billion). If the two of them spent 1 million dollars every day it would take them over 8 years to spend it! They have that much money and they want us, the tax payers, to help them build/renovate the buildings that house their businesses? Why do people think it is a good idea to give them our tax dollars? I truly don't understand it! Hasn't it been established that the economic argument for public funding of stadiums doesn't come true as teams claim it will? (http://www.imakenews.com/cppa/e_article001083889.cfm?x=b11,0,w). Quality of life? Does a professional football game really make the quality of life in a city better? Can't it be argued that it makes it worse for as many people who get a benefit from it? (I tried to drive to the Mill City museum one day when the Vikings were playing and it took 45 minutes to drive what should have taken 7 minutes!) What am I missing? Why should we give money to the Vikings when we are taking money away from schools? (Remember when the promised payment from the state to public schools was delayed to make the state budget appear to be balanced? (http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/07/14/budget-agreement-education-funding-shift/) The state didn't give the schools the promised money so the schools have to pay money to borrow some. Thus money is taken from classroom spending and put to debt payments.)
@Jeff, because they are a cultural asset to the state. Besides just get a couple Super Bowls in the 30 years we have it and we won't have to worry whatsoever about pulltabs not adding up to enough money. Also, i'd say construction workers will benefit, bars and restaurants around the stadium have their biggest business on game day, and maybe you should find a different route next time or go a different day. That would only happen 10 (hopefully 12) times a year. Then for Zygi, there's a reason he is rich, he knows what we obviously don't know on how to make money. He also knows that most states that have teams pay for the stadiums, so he could just move or sell the team rather than pay for the whole stadium. My life would be over if they left, have had season tickets for 8 years with my dad, i also see a lot of other families every week. Sorry if this is really confusing since it jumps from topic to topic, or if this is too long which in that case you wouldn't see this apology. :D