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Reader's view: Give Vikings tickets to Social Security pensioners

Social Security benefits are state-tax exempt in 37 states and Washington, D.C., and the money retained by pensioners usually is spent to the direct benefit of local and regional economies.

Social Security benefits are state-tax exempt in 37 states and Washington, D.C., and the money retained by pensioners usually is spent to the direct benefit of local and regional economies.

In Minnesota, Social Security benefits are taxed as part of the statewide revenue stream that services Minnesota's now-$17 billion of annual statewide expenditures.

With Minnesota's and Minneapolis' contribution to the new Vikings' $975 million stadium currently figured at $498 million (and I am unclear if that actually includes future interest on bonds, etc.), Minnesota's taxpayers will expend what would in effect cover roughly 3 percent of the 2013 state budget on a facility whose primary function realistically will be to host two exhibition games and eight regular season games a year, with the hope of an occasional home playoff berth.

That decision having been made, and now with the current focus on seat licenses being leveraged out of Vikings' fans' hands by the Vikings' owners, comes an interesting thought: A number of discounted single-game seats should be reserved for some of the state's Social Security pensioners in a section at field level.

Awarded through a summertime lottery to provide affordable, reduced-price, single-game, two-seat packages for a statistically appropriate number of Social Security recipients, such a ticket set-aside would provide winners tickets to use, transfer or sell in the capitalist tradition, as winners see fit.

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This seems like an egalitarian thing to do for the common fan and fixed-income taxpayer who has carried and still is carrying the freight of the state vs., especially, those corporate season-ticket interests who can play and reap corporate tax write-offs.

Further items for thought: the initial cost for Metropolitan Stadium in 1956 was $4.5 million and for the Metrodome in 1982, $55 million. Minnesota's state budget in 1967 totaled $494.7 million, speaking volumes for today's dollars' buying power.

William A. Stokinger

Two Harbors

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
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