Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here: http://secondward.blogspot.com/2006/05/disclaimer.html#links

Thursday, May 24, 2012

$41 Million

One of many details that makes the Vikings stadium deal a bad deal for Minneapolis: the lost property taxes from the stadium site itself. 


Earlier this month I learned that with the new expanded site eleven property tax paying addresses would become tax exempt.  That would result in the City, State, County and School will losing a total of $476,000 a year.
 
We also get some property taxes from the Target Center basketball arena and that the Timberwolves actually make annual payment of $1,381,656.10 in luie of propty taxes. Another 178,266.29 in property taxes comes form the Health Club paid by Lifetime Fitness and another $1,291.39 from the Arena sign that is also paid by the MN Timberwolves

The stadium itself will be worth somewhere around $975 million.  According to the Minneapolis Assessor, a building valued at $975 million in today's market, suing today's formula, would pay $41 million in property taxes.  That's $41 million per year.  Now, that number would depreciate, and such an increase in the tax base would mean that we'd have to recalculate the taxes for the city as a whole. But that's a ballpark number (pun intended). That amounts to 41 million that the rest of the property owners in Minneapolis would not have to pay and would be "growing" our tax base which is probably the best thing we can do to control and lower property taxes. 

I realize that the Metrodome has also been off of the property tax rolls since its construction.  But the continued loss of this property tax revenue is yet another hidden subsidy for the Vikings and their owners, and should be added to the overall cost of this deal. 

The problem is created by the following section of the new bill:

"Article 1 Sec. 21 [473J.19] PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION; SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS.


Any real or personal property acquired, owned, leased, controlled, used, or occupied by the authority for any of the purposes of this chapter, is acquired, owned, leased, controlled, used, and occupied for public, governmental, and municipal purposes. The stadium and stadium infrastructure are exempt from ad valorem taxation by the state or any political subdivision of the state provided that the properties are subject to special assessments levied by a political subdivision for a local improvement in amounts proportionate to and not exceeding the special benefit received by the properties from the improvement. No possible use of any of the properties in any manner different from their use under this chapter may be considered in determining the special benefit received by the properties. Notwithstanding section 272.01, subdivision 2, or 273.19, real or personal property which is subject to a lease or use agreement between the authority and another person for uses related to the purposes of this chapter, including the operation of the stadium and related parking facilities, is exempt from taxation regardless of the length of the lease or use agreement or the characteristics of the entity leasing or using the property. This section, insofar as it provides an exemption or special treatment, does not apply to any real property that is leased for residential, business, or commercial development or to a restaurant that is open for general business more than 200 days a year, or other purposes different from those contemplated in this chapter."


For those, like me, unfamiliar with an 'Ad Valorem Tax,' it is a tax based on the assessed value of real estate or personal property. City property ad valorem taxes are also known as "property taxes".
I know that some state legislators tried to remove this provision from the bill and that is one reason why I attempted to amend our legislative agenda at the Council Committee meeting, (after the majority approved the section of the bill that requires local consent) to add a provision that we would support amending the 2012 Stadium Bill, Article 1, Section 21 to remove the property tax exemption for the stadium. After sensing resistance from some of my colleagues I substituted the motion to merely direct staff to study making such an amendment. even that failed on a 6-6 vote with one Council Member absent at the time of the vote.




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