Should Republicans Only Blame Dayton For Wilf’s Sweetheart Deal?
Now that the details of the Vikings stadium bill are coming to light it is clear taxpayers were not the Governor or Legislature’s radar. Maybe they were distracted by promises of watching the Super Bowl in the owner’s suite and rubbing elbows with NFL stars, which is why a flawed stadium bill was rushed through.
The first responsibility of the Governor and any Legislator – is to stand up for the hard working citizens and taxpayers of Minnesota.
E-pull tabs are coming up short and we had to enact a new tax to plug the state’s portion. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who watched as the bill raced through the House and Senate. Governor Dayton, his revenue department, and pro-stadium Legislators wanted the Vikings deal so badly they didn’t look beyond the inflated projections from an e-pulltab vendor. They all took their eyes off the ball.
Now that the taxpayer’s are on the hook, we find out that the Wilfs were involved in civil litigation and were found guilty of civil racketeering from their dealings 20 years ago. We still don’t know where the Wilf’s share of the stadium is going to come from.
Dayton, Legislators, and some members of the press seem to be surprised that naming rights and seat licenses could be used by the Wilf’s to offset their financial contribution to the stadium. Naming rights and seat licenses could have been on the taxpayer side of the ledger, but Governor Dayton and pro-Vikings legislators took their eye off the ball and punted that one away.
The more Vikings fans and Minnesota taxpayers learn about the stadium deal, the more they realize the Wilf’s weren’t partnering with Minnesota, they wanted to get as much as they could out of Minnesota. They teased the idea of moving the team to blackmail us into building them a billion dollar stadium. Its not as if Minnesota was the first state to consider partnering with a pro-team to build them a stadium. Had Dayton and the Legislature slowed down and done some research they could have got their eye’s on the NFL playbook to sack taxpayers and ticket holders with most of a stadium’s cost. Its happened in just about every state that has an NFL team.
Republicans are quick to blame Dayton and Dayton alone for the stadium bill, but we cannot over look the role of a few key Republicans who helped rush this awful stadium deal through the Legislature.
Sen. Julie Rosen (R) was the author of the Senate Bill and described it as,
“As we’ve been saying all along, this is not an easy package to put together. But it is put together. It’s a good bill. Anybody’s who’s had a chance to read it has said, you know, this is the best stadium bill we’ve had on the table, ever,” she said. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/03/12/rosen0312
Rep. Morrie Lanning (R) was the House author and saved the stadium deal in the final minutes of the session.
Speaker Kurt Zellers (R) had the power to kill the stadium too. As Speaker he could have blocked it from coming to the floor or he could have urged his Caucus members to defend the taxpayers, he did neither. Of course he’ll point to his no vote, but that was too little too late. He said on KFAN that he wanted the bills to pass.
Rosen and Zellers are both running for Governor. They both played major roles in the final passage of the stadium bill and the Republican base knows it. That’s why neither one is going to abide by the endorsement. They know they’d be sacked on the 1st ballot.
If Governor Dayton is a fool for signing the Vikings Stadium Bill, then Sen. Rosen and Rep. Zellers are just as foolish. They all took their eyes off the ball, which is protecting the taxpayers.