Lawmaker fails to see the bigger picture

Maybe you’re a fan of the NFL, maybe you’re not.

Maybe you’re a fan of the Minnesota Vikings, maybe you like the Chicago Bears.

Still, statements like the one Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, threw out Monday night bothers me. A lot.

“Why should the state of Minnesota contribute to a stadium for a billionaire who could pay for it himself?”

It’s a ridiculous argument. First, the NFL’s wings spread wider than any other professional sports league in the US. The Vikings, the lovable losers that they historically are, provide entertainment to thousands upon thousands of living rooms each Sunday.

They help fill bars. Yes, probably even the Choo Choo Mill Bar & Grill in Grove City. They help area merchants sell team apparel. Yes, even Scheels in Fargo. They motiviate the region’s teenagers to enjoy athletics, stay out of trouble or dream of their first high school touchdown.

The trickle down doesn’t stop there. The team generates work for concession workers, ushers, parking attendants, trainers, police, security, field workers, hotel workers and thousands more, most of whom reside in the state.

Let’s consider the media impact. The team drives television, radio and print advertising, which in turn, helps keep regional businesses in operation, as well as yours truly and hundreds more who disseminate the team’s news.

There’s several more reasons why having an area team in the NFL is meaningful. But to say the state should refrain from funding a new stadium is a slap at the state’s residents who have ever watched the Purple play.

Urdahl’s comment is short-sighted, especially considering the Twin Cities is a major market. It’s a blanket statement that doesn’t apply to all businesses. If this is the case, no city in the state would provide incentives or tax breaks for businesses with millionaire owners willing to relocate in their towns.

Urdahl did vote for the stadium bill.

Still, he has to come up with something better. One size doesn’t fit all. And it certainly doesn’t fit here.

Without the Vikings, I lose my Sunday entertainment and my convenience store loses out on the $10 I dropped for soda and chips.

Yes, it’s a drop in the bucket. But it’ll rain hard. I hope these legislators carry umbrellas.