2018 Super Bowl: Minnesota Dependency Party extorts taxes from Private Sector

We can agree…


By Chris Tomasson
[email protected]

Minnesota leaders have offered their cooperation in Minneapolis’ bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl, but they’ve drawn the line on exempting players salaries from the state income tax.

The Minnesota Super Bowl Bid Committee on Tuesday officially submitted a bid to host the game in the Vikings’ new stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2016.

Included was a letter of support from Gov. Mark Dayton, as well as Democratic and Republican legislative leaders.

The bid committee said it was important to include the letter after the NFL made it clear that tax breaks would play a part in the location the league’s chooses.

New Orleans and Indianapolis also are bidding for the game. The winner will be selected during the NFL owners’ meetings May 19-21 in Atlanta.

Two of the five legislators who signed the letter said Tuesday that they are open to the possibility of offering tax breaks for Super Bowl-related events. But both said it was agreed there would be no income tax relief, a perk typically offered by potential host cities.

“I can pretty much say with certainty that we’re not going to provide income tax breaks for salaries to be a part of this,” said House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis.

“I don’t think there’s any appetite for that.”

The letter also was signed by Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook; Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie; and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown.

“The signers of the letter (said) that whatever the legislation, there was not going to be income tax provisions on it,” Hann said.

That the NFL is even considering Minneapolis as host can be attributed to Minnesota’s approval of nearly $500 million in state and municipal financing for the $1 billion Vikings stadium, which is being built on the site of the Metrodome.

Tuesday’s preliminary bid included hundreds of pages of documents related to all aspects of Super Bowl Week, including event venue options, transportation, parking, lodging, security and team practice sites.

The bid noted that more than 180 hotels in the Twin Cities were working with the Minnesota committee to secure more than 19,000 rooms and that 48 venue options have been proposed for use in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington during Super Bowl Week.

“Submitting this bid was a tremendous task that involved multiple individuals and organizations in Minnesota,” Richard Davis, the committee co-chairman and U.S. Bank CEO, said in a statement.

“This level of collaboration allowed us to produce a comprehensive bid that accurately reflects the excellent attributes of our region. We put Minnesota’s best foot forward, and we feel extremely good about our bid.”

Bid committee members will meet with NFL officials this month in New York to review their preliminary proposal. The committee will submit a final bid May 7.

“The important thing here is that the NFL knows that the government commitment is there from both the Democrats, the Republicans, the legislative leadership, the governor,” said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

“So this letter clearly shows their commitment to work with us. … We feel like we just hopefully sent in the winning bid.”

There had been doubt late last week about whether the letter of support would be produced by Tuesday’s deadline. But Thissen said it was delivered after discussions had “come full circle” about “what (the Super Bowl) means to the public and the private sectors.”

While there has been much discussion about tax breaks the NFL seeks, Thissen and Hann emphasized that monetary relief the league seeks can come from the private donations.

“There is some leeway on how you do that,” Hann said. “It can come with taxes and from donations from the business community. I don’t think they really care as an NFL group; I just think they’re looking for a relief of some kind.”

A law passed for the 1992 Super Bowl at the Metrodome making game tickets exempt from sales taxes remains on the books. New Orleans and Indianapolis have laws pertaining to tax exemptions for Super Bowl tickets and events.

If Minneapolis wins its bid for the 2018 game, Thissen and Hann said the Legislature next year could consider tax breaks for NFL-related events. Any such legislation would need to be approved two years before the game.

“I’m certainly committed to trying to (pass legislation for tax breaks) for those things that are directly related to the event,” Thissen said.

Follow Chris Tomasson at twitter.com/christomasson.