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Sid Hartman: Twins Stadium Would Pay Off

I found this to be an interesting addendum to my previous post.

[Bob] Starkey predicts that, by averaging 2.5 million fans in ticket sales and 2.3 million at the turnstile (net of no-shows), the team would generate average annual sales taxes at 6.5 percent of $7.2 million.

Well, let’s modify that number a bit. Twins have drawn an average of about 1.9 million fans to the dome in the last three seasons. If we can expect 92% of fans to show up, judging by the numbers above, that means they drew approximately 1.75 million net fans. This is approximately 76% of the admittedly conservative attendance numbers above. So conservatively there will be an increase in drawn state sales tax of $1.8 million, not $7.2 million.

The average income tax paid by the Twins and visiting players -- yes, visiting players do pay income tax -- would be a minimum of $4.6 million a year in Starkey's projection.

Since the visiting players’ salaries are going to be constant with or without a new stadium, I’d suspect there’ll only be a small portion of gain from the increased payroll the Twins are assumed to carry. I suppose an interesting income tax test would be to look at the Twins books and see what kind of income tax gain we’ll get out of their increased revenue. To my knowledge that cannot be done, however.

Anyway, unless I’m missing something it appears Sid is pushing bogus numbers on us to direct public sentiment. The tax gain from players’ salaries and fans’ expenditures may be more along the lines of $2-2.5 million rather than the $11.8 million he’s claiming. Furthermore, one could probably easily prove that the sales tax gain is considerably less since much of the money spent would have been spent elsewhere in the state. Not that I blame Sid; the Start Tribune has a big stake in keeping the Twins in Minnesota. To be clear, I don’t doubt that Sid could miss some words here or there; words like “increase in sales tax revenues.”

I also wonder if that increased state tax revenue is earmarked for Hennepin County. I would highly doubt it, which is another reason why I’m surprised their board approved this action. The state has nothing to lose. This smacks of the convention center renovations, a project that I’m guessing is a net gain, but a drain on Minneapolis. It should be an easy decision for the state, economically speaking.