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Target Field on pace to be paid off early

Jan 4, 2013, 8:36 AM EDT

Target Field

All publicly-funded stadium projects stink, but some stink less than others. At least the one for Target Field hasn’t devolved into a horrifying mess like the ones in Miami, Cincinnati and elsewhere. In fact, it’s on pace to be paid off early:

For Target Field, Hennepin County’s initial plan was to make the final debt payment in 2037, but the payoff now could come five or 10 years sooner, according to county Budget and Finance Director Dave Lawless.

Too bad that $350 million in public funds couldn’t have been so efficiently directed to something besides a ballpark which is owned by and directly benefits one of the richest families in the United States.

*Correction: The Pohlads lease Target Field. They still benefit greatly from it, of course.

  1. kirbyslefteye - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    Target Field is owned by the Minnesota Ballpark Authority–a public entity–not the Pohlads. The Pohlads lease Target Field from the MBA and make annual payments.

    This information is on the Twins website:
    http://minnesota.twins.mlb.com/min/ballpark/new_faq.jsp

  2. tpxdmd - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    Why that’s class warfare!

    Jay Sherman: [contemptuous] How do you sleep at night?
    Rainer Wolfcastle: On top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies.
    Jay Sherman: Just asking.

    • tuberippin - Jan 4, 2013 at 9:04 AM

      +1 for McBain

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 4, 2013 at 9:08 AM

        +1 for The Critic

        THIS STINKS!

      • jarathen - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:38 AM

        MENDOZAAAA!!!!

  3. shawon0meter - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    if the MBA gives the Pohlads the park, will they spend money on starting pitching then?

    Probably not? OK then.

  4. darthicarus - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Ah to be rich and have people pay for things for me…

    • alexo0 - Jan 4, 2013 at 9:38 AM

      …while not having to pay for anyone else.

      The credo of the Republican Party.

      • ltzep75 - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:56 PM

        You’re aware that MN is deeply democrat, right?

        Further:

        (i) people on both sides of the aisle push through stadium deals; and
        (ii) there is little difference between the labels our elected officials bestow upon themselves.

    • 18thstreet - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      There was an article in the Washington Post about a crumbling bridge over the Anacostia River. It lets out very close the Nats’ ballpark.

      The cost of rebuilding the bridge (which everyone agrees will be hard to find) was basically the same as the cost of building the ballpark (which no one in the article mentioned).

  5. albertmn - Jan 4, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    Public funding for stadiums kind of stinks. But, until there are no other cities willing to do it to try to lure teams away, it won’t change. And, while teams benefit the most, there are plenty of others whose jobs depend on stadiums as well (vendors, ushers, stadium workers, etc.), so it isn’t only the owners benefitting.

    • paperlions - Jan 4, 2013 at 9:42 AM

      Those jobs would still exist if the owners built their own stadiums, or if they were willing to pay reasonable leases so that publicly funded stadiums didn’t result in a net loss for local governments.

      • albertmn - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:54 PM

        But, due to the small number of teams available, some other city would pay up, so the first city would lose the team, and those jobs. Why would an owner pay for all of a stadium, when some other city will most most of it? I hate it, but I can’t blame the owners for taking what is out there to be taken.
        According to what I could find, the Twins did pay $195 million of the $555 million cost, so it was not entirely taxpayer funded. The Vikings would also be paying a portion of the cost of their new stadium, but I can’t quickly find the numbers right now.

    • 18thstreet - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:35 AM

      Those jobs you mentioned are just moved from elsewhere in the region’s economy. A few jobs are created, and just as many are quietly destroyed.

      If the baseball park weren’t built, people would spend their leisure dollars elsewhere. Those ushers would be working at bowling alleys or movie theaters. Here’s the thing — the money you and I spend going to a baseball game mostly ends up in the hands of the players and owners. If you or I go bowling, the money ends up in the hands of the owner of the bowling alley, who lives locally and thus spends his money locally and pays income taxes locally.

      • albertmn - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        I can’t entirely agree with your assertion. Some of that money may be spent on other activities, but bowling and movies don’t cost nearly what a professional game costs to attend (especially football). Your point may be valid for those of us that attend a couple of games per year spread across various teams/sports in their city. That couple hundred dollars may be spread to other pursuits. But, for people that buy season tickets for thousands of dollars, that kind of money would more likely be spent on a vacation somewhere out of state or out of the country than on bowling or movies. That money would be gone out of the region.
        Also, the region wouldn’t get the tax dollars that would have been paid in by all of those millionaire players, team executives, and billionaire owners.

      • 18thstreet - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        Reasonable point about where season ticket revenue might be spent if baseball didn’t exist.

        But millionaire players all live in Florida, where they avoid local income taxes. And billionaire owners put their money into the Cayman Islands and secret Swiss bank accounts, where they avoid the responsibilities of citizenship.

      • mazblast - Jan 4, 2013 at 11:39 PM

        I’m a tax preparer and have at times prepared tax returns for pro ballplayers and executives. For the time they play in a given city and/or state, local/state taxes are withheld on a pro rata share of their annual salaries.

        Let’s take Alex Rodriguez as an example, a Florida resident. He pays NY state taxes on all of his home game income, MA tax on the games the Yankees play in Boston, MN tax for the games they play in Minnesota, CA tax for games in Anaheim, LA, SD, SF, and Oakland, Missouri tax for games in St. Louis and KC, etc. Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway), their W-2s are the size of a small-town phone book. The tax break comes from the games played in no-income-tax states like Texas, Washington, or Florida, or states with lower tax rates than New York, such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, or Michigan.

        The reverse is also true. Let’s use David Price as an example. Sure, he pays no state income tax on his home game income or that in Texas, but he has tax withheld by states with state and/or local income taxes. When the Rays play in Cleveland, for example, there is Ohio and Cleveland local tax withheld for the pro-rated three or six games they play there.

        There is one exception, when states have reciprocity agreements with other states. Ohio and PA have such an agreement. When the Reds go to Pittsburgh, the state income tax withheld for players living in Ohio is still Ohio, although the city tax is that of Pittsburgh.

        You can see why most MLB teams don’t handle payroll in-house anymore.

      • 18thstreet - Jan 5, 2013 at 8:16 AM

        THANKS!!

        Does this happen with DC, too?

  6. wonkypenguin - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Awesome. Any word how early the other two stadiums the state of Minnesota is currently funding will be paid off?

  7. sportsfan69 - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Republican Party at its best. The middle class and poor for everything. While the rich sit in their luxury boxes owned by their corporation as an income tax credit. Say no more that’s our new America.

    • sportsdrenched - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      Maybe our MN Friends could shed some light on which party set this deal up. But locally, Republicans are against publicly funded anything….schools, roads, Meicare etc…much less a ballpark.

      In KC members of BOTH parties pushed through the stadium renovations.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        At the end of the day, it’s just one big political party.

        With streamers, air horns, and confetti. And Tostitos.

  8. koufaxmitzvah - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Everytime I see the name Pohlad I’m thinking Pothead.

    Is that just me?

  9. Chris Fiorentino - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    “The Pohlads lease Target Field. They still benefit greatly from it, of course.”

    And of course, the Pohlads do nothing whatsoever for the citizens, right? It’s funny how we only talk about the benefits the owners get, and not the benefits that the fans get. Like it’s a RIGHT instead of a PRIVILEGE to have a Major League baseball team in your town. Sure, it would be nice for the locals if all these “filthy rich owners” would risk billions to build a stadium in a city and then risk hundreds of millions to field their baseball teams there. But why should they take all the risk upon themselves?

    Again…you people who whine about the public using tax money to build stadiums forget that having a Major League Baseball team in your city is a PRIVILEGE, not a RIGHT. Get over yourselves already.

    • ireportyoudecide - Jan 4, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Agreed, there are many things that local taxes go to that don’t make financial sense. Museums, parks, zoo’s. I was thrilled when the Seattle city council approved funding for Safeco Field in Seattle, without it I probably would have moved by now.

    • jeffbbf - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      The rock and the hard place here is that without the team, the city loses millions of sales tax dollars every year related to entertainment (transportation, hotels, bars, etc.) and merchandise. They also earn millions of dollars in payroll and income taxes related to all of the jobs created or kept related to the Twins. They also save millions in unemployment taxes and benefits they don’t have to pay related to those jobs. Not to mention the annual payments received by the Twins. If it’s done the right way, both sides benefit tremendously. In this case, it looks like it was done the right way.

  10. ltzep75 - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Grumble, grumble grumble Republicans grumble grumble grumble rich jerks.

    There, I think I’ve covered a number of the comments. So how about we engage in a discussion regarding the team’s allocation of funds to player retention or acquisition?

  11. jsally430 - Jan 5, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    the twins have done subtle fire sales so it doesn’t get media attention of the Marlins

  12. krazytrane - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:10 AM

    The Dome was paid off early too.

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