By Christopher David - NoVikingsTax.com - Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak wants to have it both ways. On the one hand, this Tuesday (Feb 1, 2011), he appeared with billionaire publishing magnate Glen Taylor, hawking a plan to spend $155 million, much of it public money, on a "facelift" for Target Center, which the City owns and Taylor's Timberwolves and Lynx basketball teams play in. On the other hand, Rybak wants to be seen as a practical mayor who shares the priorities of city residents and neighborhood activists.
Of a potential Timberwolves Tax to pay for his grand plan for Target Center, Rybak tells Minnpost "I don't want to deal with this issue, frankly, but we simply have to do it." Rybak claims his plan is a "a sensible, sustainable Minnesota solution," and that if we didn't pay a Timberwolves Tax now, we'd have to pay more later.
Instead of attacking the national problem of freeloading professional sports teams--or the spineless public officials that aid and abet them--Rybak attacks the rest of the state, saying that he is sick of Minneapolis being "THE local partner...We're looking for equity."
While it's true that Minneapolis has paid more money in stadium taxes than any other part of the state, having funded the Metropolitan Stadium, Metrodome, Target Center, and Target Field (the last one through citizens' paying a Hennepin County Twins Tax), perhaps that fact is not the fault of the rest of the state. Instead, it could be that Minneapolis is the only city that won't say "no" to billionaire panhandlers.
See also: Prof. david Schultz: Dumb and Dumber: The Folly of Taxpayer Handouts for Professional Sports [Billionaire owner threatens Twin Cities with Vikings departure as community-owned Packers win Super Bowl - maybe community ownership less of a ripoff? --One TCIMC'er]