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I give you – Kramarczuk Field! (05/13/2012)
By John Edstrom
Forget about naming rights. The new Vikings facility should be known to future generations as Kramarczuk Field, after the premium sausage made by the same process which finally got the stadium bill passed.

Never in the history of the state have such a strange batch of political bedfellows been found nuzzling under the same sheets, on both the pro and con sides of the issue.

The coalition against was particularly odd, consisting of the rock-jawed out-state conservatives against taxes, spending, and government in general, in tandem with weepy urban liberals whose core agenda is to divide society by halves into the dysfunctional on the one side, and the government professionals to minister to them on the other. This is, of course, an expensive project not allowing for sports facilities or other nonessentials.

On the pro side were Governor Dayton, (strange all by himself), the lobbyists in their sharkskin suits, union honchos, purple-painted fans, and a few small-town tavern owners on holiday.

Given the depths of the recession and dearth of revenues in general, it is hard to dismiss out of hand the arguments of the con side, except for the very knot-headed ones. State-run gambling is absolutely an abomination, but what of it? That horse is long out of the barn, and the money derived from electronic pull-tabs will most certainly be shifted from other types of games. What’s the difference?

On the other public side, the Minneapolis funding is already in place, and will be merely shifted from other areas. Most of it is liquor and hospitality taxes, ponied up by the sort of people who go to...football and baseball games. Those wishing to avoid paying them can stay home and watch the games free on TV.

In fact, it is easy to argue that the new Vikings stadium comes free, gratis, for nothing to the average Minnesotan. One can easily avoid the purchase of electronic pull-tabs, (a classic game of bilko in the first place), and more easily the Twin Cities hospitality taxes, simply by watching the Vikings for free at home, drinking the beer out of your own fridge, and then sleeping it off in your own bed. What’s not to like about this arrangement?

In the meantime the Wilfs and the NFL have pumped half a billion dollars into the Minneapolis and Minnesota economy for starters, and the enormous amount of economic activity generated by Vikings football statewide continues apace. Having the excuse to paint yourself purple and crack a beer at noon on Sundays is just a throw-in.



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