Lileks: If we want Super Bowl, let's give 'em a break

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 22, 2014 - 9:31 PM

Unless we give the NFL some tax breaks, we won’t get a Super Bowl. Some legislators say no, but this will happen. Everything related to the new stadium was always inevitable, and the idea that we’d build this thing and not bid for a Super Bowl is like someone getting fabulous plastic surgery in advance of the 20th high school reunion and then deciding to go wearing a mask.

Let’s say the NFL wouldn’t give us a Super Bowl unless a town within 50 miles of the stadium renamed itself Pigskin Fever and branded all firstborn males with the NFL logo.

Legislators’ response: We’re not going to burden hardworking Minnesota families with the cost of salves and unguents to heal those burns.

NFL: Whatever. Tampa’s on board. Later dudes.

Legislators negotiate for temporary tattoos in place of the branding. NFL: How about you draw it on with a Sharpie. You pay for the Sharpies.

Legislators: Temporary 0.5% sales tax on markers. Ten years later, the tax is still there; the money goes for tattoo removal programs for prisoners. Attempts to repeat the tax are met with protests, since tattoo removal has been proven to assist ex-felons reintegrate into society.

All this aside, it’s not costing us anything if we waive the sales tax on the tickets. It’s like passing a 95% tax on the income of the king of Saudi Arabia for the time he spends at Mayo, and he goes to the Scottsdale branch. We’re not giving him anything.

If we have the right to tax the salaries of players who come here for a day to grunt and hit people, then we have the right to tax the salary of a truck driver who passes through the state and happens to gas up at Clearwater.

So give them the tax “break.” No one will ever hit a deep pothole and curse: “If only they’d taxed Super Bowl tickets four years ago I wouldn’t have snapped an axle!” Likewise, no one will ever say “Upon recollection of those overhead blimp-cam shots of Minneapolis we saw, I propose we pay the fine town a visit.” Have you?

By the way: If the Louvre said it would loan the Institute of Arts the Mona Lisa provided we didn’t tax the admission tickets, the bill would pass in four seconds. Hope that happens, too: You’d see the most civilized tailgating ever.

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