Sports Digest Essay

Submitted By Maeghanan-Fitzgerald
Words: 628
Pages: 3

9/7/2014

Biggest Losers? Minnesota Taxpayers | The Sport Digest

THE SPORT DIGEST
PUBLISHED BY THE UNITED STATES SPORTS ACADEMY

BIGGEST LOSERS? MINNESOTA TAXPAYERS
(Editor’s Note. The following article is reprinted here with the express permission of The Heartland
Institute. This article appeared on their site’s blog at the time of the vote in the Minnesota
Legislature to provide public funding for a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings. The group has just released a policy

brief arguing that the most viable longterm model for pro sport franchise

stability is for fans to own teams, as is the case with the Green Bay Packers).
The Minnesota House of Representatives voted recently to approve a $975 million plan to build the
NFL’s Minnesota Vikings a new football stadium and the state Senate was expected to also approve the measure. The House plan forces the owners of the Vikings to raise $427 million of the tab from private sources.
“The taxpayers of Minnesota will be the big losers if forced to subsidize a new playground for millionaire players and multi-millionaire owners,” said Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland
Institute and author of its recent work on sports stadium subsidies.
Steve Stanek, a research fellow for The
Heartland Institute and managing editor of its publication Budget & Tax News, said, “I wonder how many people who support taking hundreds of millions of dollars from residents to hand to wealthy sports team owners and multimillionaire athletes also believe the wealthy should pay higher taxes? Do they fail to see the irony?” Fan-owned Minnesota Vikings?

The Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank whose researchers have questioned government subsidies to sports stadiums since the mid 1980s, recently released a Policy Brief proposing fan ownership of teams as a solution to “sports stadium madness.”

“Sports stadium subsidies impose a huge cost to society,” Bast wrote in the brief, released in
February. “Unearned rent being held onto by professional sports franchises, made possible largely by public subsidies for new sports stadiums and arenas, is a huge injustice and deadweight loss to the nation.” “Unearned rent,” a reference to the work of economist Henry George, is created whenever private http://thesportdigest.com/2012/05/biggest-losers-minnesota-taxpayers/ 1/3

9/7/2014

Biggest Losers? Minnesota Taxpayers | The Sport Digest

individuals use force or fraud to restrict competition, Bast notes. The solution, he says, is to remove the privileges that enable individuals and corporations to generate and keep unearned rent.
In the realm of professional sports, removing those privileges means fan ownership of…