Its pretty clear to me that Governor Mark Dayton isn’t thrilled about the Arden Hills plan for a Viking’s stadium. Plus he knows that the purported plan is a poison pill for the GOP.
1) Ramsey County .5% sales tax increase – $350 million
Unless the Republican controlled Legislature waives the sales tax referendum, there will be one (The most ignored fact of this whole debate), and those in the know claim it will fail a public vote (Which I disagree). I don’t agree with that, but unfortunately, the Vikings don’t know how to sell the deal. They are focused solely on lawmakers and are not making a good case selling this deal as a plus for the area. Add to that, the brazen way the Ramsey County partners are not selling the overall development and the badly needed highway upgrades that would come with it and the well funded PR machine is performing dismally.
Dayton, the Vikings, and the media are taking the notion of the waiver as a fore gone conclusion. Its not. Dayton and his DFL advisors know that the last time Republicans voted to waive a local referendum for the Twins’ stadium, it cost the Republicans lots of seats. Dayton wants DFLers to take back the House & Senate and what better way then to force Republicans to take a bad vote? He’s using this as a major wedge to hamper the GOP’s reelection plans.
2) State funding source?? – $300 Million
The state is offering $300 million to the kitty, but where that comes from is not identified. Frankly, I think its weak as hell that the highway upgrades are part of the barter. If 3M or some other major company was going to build a manufacturing plant, or head quarters on this site, these roads would have to be upgraded and that would fall on the state. They have been out of date for several decades and are incredibly dangerous.
Take the upgrades to 35W & 694 that need to be done anyways (but won’t with out a major delevopment slated for the North Metro) and subtract them out of the $300 and it will help reduce the Ramsey County portion and could find a way around the local sales tax. Look, Ramsey County is 2nd highest County in Minnesota when it comes to poverty. Should the County pay something? Yes, but more than the state? No way. This stadium would be a state or at least Metro amenity.
This whole deal is being crafted by people who don’t want it to succeed it sure seems.
I’ve been opposed to it in the past, but Racino seems like a good way to help this project and begin the battle with the tribal monopolies. Will it happen? We know it won’t get one single DFL vote (Edit: A claim challenged in the comments below, but until I see a DFLer buck their party leaders and stand shoulder to shoulder with Rep. Kriesel & Pat Anderson, I won’t believe it nor give Democrats credit). That’s because while the Casinos don’t have to follow the same laws the rest of the businesses in Minnesota do, they can spend at will in elections, and do, largely on DFLers, but also with some powerful conservative special interest groups like the Taxpayer’s League and CAGE, which is connected/related to the Republican leaders like Chair Sutton and
RNCer Pat Anderson (Edit: I got Anderson confused with other GOPers, she is NOT on Tribal payrolls and is in fact working for the Pro-Racino side to break the Tribal monopoly. My apologies Mrs. Anderson.)
Racino passing would require passing votes almost exclusively from Republicans and any Republican who votes for it would be attacked, called a RINO, and likely face a Primary.
4) Dayton wants to save Utopia
The fact is an Arden Hills stadium for Wilf means megabucks for the Vikings. Its true. I don’t think anything is wrong with that. Heck, I wish I could buy the Vikings myself, but I can’t, and neither can you. Dayton and his urban goon Mondale don’t want to see a major visitor magnet like the Vikings move out of Minneapolis. Met Council and the “METROPOLITAN” Sports Commission are supposed to help plan regionally, not centrally, but they can’t even consider anything where a parking lot and open space to congregate isn’t involved.
I think Dayton knows the proposed plan is DOA. He knows the DFL won’t help pass this and it all lies on the GOP. That’s why he isn’t proposing solutions, just demanding action. It all falls on the GOP, as did the budget deficit solution. They work, Dayton politicizes, he caves, then he claims credit.
The rewards of breaking the downtown death grip on event center and being the core of our Metro area s is worth the “investment” in my opinion. I grew up in Arden Hills. I have spent my entire adult life suffering from one of the major MNDOT failures in the North Metro highway system and have long wondered how in the world these people keep their jobs. Add to that leaders who have said no to everything in the past and have left the city and area in the 20th Century.
I remember back to when 35W melted a few years back and having to dodge chunks of tar flying through the air. Then MNDOT and state honchos bragged about how they’d go ahead and fix it, as if they didn’t have to. Their damn road fell apart, their road that they were in charge of. And they acted as if there was a chance they didn’t or couldn’t fix it and us taxpayers should hang a picture of then on our walls because they did us a favor.
I could go on all day on how the North Metro either steps up to become a player or starts to see even more businesses hit the road to the South Metro.
The point of this is that I don’t think Dayton wants to have an Arden Hills stadium. He’d prefer it be in his pal Rybak’s turf where Dayton got elected. Take Minneapolis out of the 2010 election and Tom Emmer would be Governor. Dayton doesn’t want to do anything to upset the DFL stronghold like taking thousands of jobs and millions in revenue out of Minneapolis.
If the Republicans are willing to take the lumps for waiving the local referendum and in turn risk losing seats, he’ll settle for taking credit for keeping the Vikings here and laughing on election night. Its a win win for him either way. Worse case, and it is a possibility – is that the Wilf’s sell the team, the new owners move them, and Dayton can blame the GOP for them leaving.
I’m pro new stadium, I’m not happy with the funding plans on the table. I hate the Metrodome and the whole downtown ‘your own cars not welcome’ (read: self reliance) / ‘rats in a maze’ experience. Would I prefer Wilf write a check for the entire project? Yes, but he won’t. No one will. A) You don’t get to be a billionaire by spending money you don’t have to, that said – he is offering the 3rd largest private portion to build a new stadium. B) If we don’t help build the stadium, someone else will and it won’t be in Minnesota.
Some of you are okay with that. I’m not. And that’s why there should be more talk about ways to have only stadium users pay. A key to that is that its not just Vikings fans, but all the other users. Gate tax? Ticket tax?
A lot of people say, fine, let them leave…. most of you who say you don’t care ignore the huge impacts and benefits of something like an NFL team. Losing them will cost jobs. Not just around the stadium, at the bars, the ramifications are huge. I went to my grocery store Sunday afternoon and it was packed with people in purple stocking up for the game. Plus there’s the corporate benefits of having one of the 32 NFL teams…..
While most of us will never see the inside of one of those luxury suites, we do business with people who do, buy things they sell… and folks, those things are fringe benefits to make deals and woo people.
I gots to run, maybe more later. Or feel free to tell me I’m a traitor, or evil, or what ever.