We’ll soon see how serious the Wilf family really is about that new stadium. Kevin Duchschere’s Strib story has Gov. Dayton calling “half” a nice round number for the Wilfs to pay for a football temple: “… Dayton, the most important booster at the State Capitol for a subsidized Minnesota Vikings stadium, said Monday that the team should pay more than they’ve publicly committed for the stadium. Vikings officials say the team would pay a third of the cost of a roofless stadium, estimated at about $700 million. The stadium bill recently introduced also puts the team’s contribution at a third of the cost, requiring at least $1 for every $2 of state and local money. But Dayton, speaking on Minnesota Public Radio, said the team should pay 40 percent or even half the cost. Anything more than that, he said, may be unrealistic. Dayton has never said until now what the team’s share should be, only that they should make a significant contribution.”
Speaking of MPR, Mark Zedechlik puts together a story on re-framing the budget. He writes: “As [Speaker Kurt] Zellers and the other Republicans were flying to Rochester for the second of their eight news conferences, Dayton was on Minnesota Public Radio’s Midmorning program calling on the GOP lawmakers to present him with a budget that, in Dayton’s words, is ‘honest.’ Dayton maintains some of the numbers and assumptions Republicans are using in their budget plan are not based in reality. ‘Now the House and Senate have each passed one based on some very questionable assumptions so they have about a $1.2 billion gap,’ Dayton said. ‘They can’t even produce their own balanced budget, so I mean it’s fine to talk about mine. But their job now is to pass their own budget.’ … Dayton said he is open to possibly increasing the threshold at which the [new higher] tax would kick in, from its current $85,000 in taxable income for single filers or $150,000 for married couples filing jointly. ‘Their position is they don’t want to raise taxes $1 on somebody making a half a million a year, $1 million a year, $5 million dollars a year,’ Dayton said. ‘They hide behind this fig leaf of the bottom of my proposed bracket and you know, if they don’t agree with that starting point, then why don’t they propose to raise it?’ ” Well, I think I know why, and his name is Grover Norquist.
Judge Susan Nelson will not be getting Christmas fruitcakes from NFL owners. As the Los Angeles Times’ Sam Farmer tells the story: “U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson in St. Paul, Minn., ordered an end to the 7-week-old lockout, saying she believed the players’ argument that the situation was causing irreparable harm to their careers. ‘It’s one step closer to trying to do what we brought this case for — to make sure that there’s football, that players can play and fans can watch,’ players attorney Jim Quinn told The Times in a phone interview. Now, the ball is in the court of the NFL, which will attempt to get a stay of the ruling — keeping the lockout in place — from Nelson. The NFL already has filed a notice with the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, questioning whether the district court exceeded its jurisdiction. … Stanford law professor William B. Gould IV, former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board, said the decision for the players is “huge” if it holds up to appeal. ‘If it’s sustained, this reduces the leverage of the owners immeasurably,’ he said. However, an observer with knowledge of the NFL’s legal strategy but not authorized to speak publicly about it said owners had been bracing for a loss at this level, but are confident that the 8th Circuit will side with them. The 8th Circuit, based in St. Louis, is known to be very conservative and often rules in favor of employers. Nine of the 11 active 8th Circuit judges were appointed by Republican presidents.”
Deborah Ziff of the Wisconsin State Journal reports on four Democrats unhappy with changes in that tuition reciprocity deal with Minnesota: “Democrats on the state’s budget committee raised objections to proposed changes to Wisconsin’s tuition reciprocity program with Minnesota. The proposal won’t end the program, which allows Wisconsin and Minnesota students to pay in-state tuition at public universities in either state. But it means Wisconsin students would pay more to attend college in Minnesota. The changes would eliminate a subsidy — paid by the state of Wisconsin — which gives Wisconsin students a grant to cover higher in-state tuition in Minnesota. Eliminating that subsidy will mean a Wisconsin student enrolled at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus would pay an additional $1,400 per year, according to Rep. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse. Students attending UM-Duluth would pay an additional $2,200 per year, Shilling said. Gov. Scott Walker says the change would save Wisconsin taxpayers $12 million a year. About 10,300 students take part in the program.”
GOP legislators in Wisconsin are playing the Voter ID card simultaneous with moving their 2012 primary up to mid-August, which is, uh, vacation time for half the state. The AP story says: “GOP Rep. Jeff Stone of Greendale says he has included the date change in a new draft of a bill that requires voters to show photo identification at the polls. Stone’s redraft also would require voters to give a reason for requesting an absentee ballot. A bill being circulated by Republican Rep. Don Pridemore of Hartford would change the primary date to the second week in August, eliminate straight ticket voting and attach the proposals to photo ID legislation.”
You, of course, have been smart enough to hang on to your General Mills stock, right? The Bloomberg story by Jeff Kearns and Matthew Boyle says Nestle S.A. is sniffing around Golden Valley: “General Mills Inc. climbed to the highest level since June and options traders boosted bullish wagers on speculation that the maker of Cheerios cereal and Progresso soup may be acquired by Nestle SA. The shares climbed 0.8 percent to close at $38.21 in New York, while the most-active bullish options were May $39 calls, which accounted for almost half of all bullish trades. The shares have climbed 7.4 percent this year. ‘The call volume isn’t massive, but it’s piqued some interest,’ said Jamie Lissette, founder of the Hammerstone Group, a Westport, Conn.-based operator of online discussion forums for investors. ‘There’s been a lot consolidation in the food names recently, and people are thinking Nestle may come in and buy a large U.S. food company.’ “
There may finally be some action around the old Jaguar dealership site on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis. Jennifer Bjorhus reports: “Plans to raze the old Jaguar dealership in downtown Minneapolis and turn it into upscale apartments are moving forward as Ryan Cos., the developer that recently signed a new purchase agreement for the Hennepin Avenue block, chose the Excelsior Group in Minneapolis to develop the apartments and is interviewing architects this week. …[Excelsior’s] Chris Culp estimated that the Jaguar apartment building might have between 200 and 225 units.” … and a supermarket.
In another real estate deal, the usual suspects will howl when they hear Hennepin County is planning to spend $25.8 million to buy the very nice 701 building across from the Government Center. Kevin Duchschere (again) writes: “[T]he Hennepin County Board Tuesday is expected to buy a pink-and-blue glass office tower that’s across the street from the Government Center. Commissioners will vote on a $25.8 million purchase agreement for the 701 Building, an 18-story structure at 701 4th Av. S. The deal would be one of Hennepin County’s most significant building acquisitions in recent years. Rarely has the county bought an office building so big, expensive and relatively new. But the 701, county real estate manager Michael Noonan said, ‘is a good opportunity to own rather than lease.’ The county’s public defenders office already rents there. If the deal closes in early June, the first new batch of county employees — from the Environmental Services building near Target Field — would move in this fall.”
Today in Bachmannia: A guest commentary on energy issues appears in the Strib under the byline of one Michele Bachmann. Among other things she says: “Obama gave his enthusiastic support for drilling to Brazil. Why should the United States be one of Brazil’s ‘best customers’ when we need to increase reliance on our own resources? If an all-of-the above energy plan was encouraged here, we could create numerous, high-paying jobs and move our economy forward. For example, nearly three-quarters of a million jobs could be created if just the northern coast of ANWR were opened to exploration. … A 2009 study from Spain showed that for every green job, at least 2.2 jobs were lost in other industries. Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor from King Juan Carlos University and author of the report, found a $774,000 cost for each Spanish green job created since 2000. Last month Verso Economics released a similar study on the United Kingdom which showed that 3.7 jobs were lost for every green job created. Oil production can create dependable jobs in the United States if given the chance.” PolitiFact and PoliGraph will be very busy today.