It’s not quite “Let ’em leave,” but it’s this close. WCCO-TV’s coverage of the day’s stadium dialogue includes this: “A cadre of Minnesota legislators opposed to putting public money into a deal for a new Vikings stadium acknowledged Thursday they’d let the team flee the state rather than let themselves be strong-armed into cutting a deal at any price. ... “We don’t want them to leave, but if they’re going to leave I guess that is going to happen,” said Sen. David Hann, a Republican who led a news conference by a bipartisan group of lawmakers fighting efforts to expand gambling to help pay for a new stadium. The lawmakers said their opposition extends to using all forms of taxpayer money. Added GOP Sen. Dave Thompson, an assistant majority leader: “I have to do what I believe is right. I wouldn’t be making the Vikings leave. It would be the ownership of the Vikings making a decision to leave if they do and the NFL allowing them because they don’t get what they want.”
It must be in the job description somewhere that you have to get in this game. Eric Roper of the Strib covers Mayor R.T. Rybak’s proposals for funding a Minneapolis Vikings stadium: “Rybak outlined two funding plans Thursday for building a Vikings stadium in Minneapolis: either raise the city’s sales and hotel taxes or pull the money from a downtown casino. The first plan would tack on an additional .35% sales tax to Minneapolis’ existing .50% sales tax. The city’s tax on hotel stays, known as the lodging tax, would rise 1% to 3.635%. That plan faces significant hurdles at the city council, since at least six members are opposed to a city-only sales tax to pay for a stadium.” Yeah, that’s signficant.
Every stadium’s greatest fan, Sir Sid, writes in his Strib column: “Yes, Rybak and everybody else in Hennepin County could be wasting their time coming up with other sites unless something kills the Arden Hills site.However, as long as Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and House Speaker Kurt Zellers continue to be opposed to a stadium bill without a referendum, you can plan on kissing the Vikings franchise goodbye. Los Angeles is waiting with open arms for two NFL franchises, and there’s a good chance the revenue sharing that currently keeps the Vikings profitable will be eliminated or cut down in the near the future, meaning the Vikings won’t be able to compete in this market while playing in the Metrodome. Believe me, Sen. Koch and Rep. Zellers, you and some of your fellow legislators are going to be largely responsible for this area losing the Vikings and the weekly $6 to $9 million spent here when the Vikings play a home game, not to mention the many jobs associated with the franchise.” A little louder, Sid. I don’t think they heard you.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve got a call from the top Thursday. The AP says: “President Barack Obama has called the head coach of the Minnesota Lynx to congratulate her and her team on winning the WNBA championship. The White House says Obama told coach Cheryl Reeve on Thursday that he’s very proud of how the Lynx played and how hard they worked as they pursued their first WNBA title. He said he looked forward to congratulating the team in person at the White House.”
Well, you can’t say it hasn’t been a hit. Wendy Lee of the Strib reports on heavy demand for that Angel Tax Credit: “A state program meant to spur more investment in Minnesota start-ups has proven so popular, it will run out of incentives to give investors in early December. The Minnesota Angel Tax Credit program offers qualified individuals a 25 percent tax credit on their investments of at least $10,000 in Minnesota start-ups. Jeff Nelson, the program’s coordinator, said on Thursday this year’s tax credits could run out in five to six weeks. … So far, Minnesota start-ups have received $53.2 million in investment under the program, Nelson said. But once this year’s $16 million in tax credits runs out, the program will not be able to give more tax credits to investors until Jan. 1, he said. There is only $2.7 million in tax credits remaining this year.”
Retired St. Louis Park teacher Rick Menzel serves up a commentary in the Strib on recent reports that Minnesotans are considered a bit on the “boring” side, and not very interesting: “Having lived in Minnesota for 30 years, I can report that we’re making good progress toward becoming a more interesting state. Old-fashioned ‘Minnesota nice’ is giving way to divisive political debate. As a state that worked, we attracted little attention. Now internal feuds are dividing those who want to see us as a ‘blue’ state and those who prefer to see us ‘red.’ Businesses, once locally owned, are increasingly targeting their giving so it better supports the bottom line. The old ‘liberal’ form of Protestant Christianity, under which people responded to misfortune with compassion, is also losing favor. In its place is a more militant faith that sees hardship as a divine judgment.”
Mike Mullen at City Pages notes a study showing U of M students are losing discipline in their sex habits: “The findings, released in the annual Trojan Sexual Health Report Card, shows the U falling from 10th in healthy sex practices all the way down to 68th. The report, which judges schools on 13 different categories including access to condoms and birth control pills, and student sentiments about the on-campus health center, offers a pretty stark truth: If you want to have a wild night, you’d be better off getting down at the University of Iowa. Columbia University is, for the second year running, the safest-sexiest school in the country. Columbia’s followed by the main campus for the University of Illinois. Then come a couple of Ivies, Princeton and Brown, and Oregon State University rounds out the top five. In our neck of the woods, Iowa does best, coming through with a No. 9 ranking, and the University of Wisconsin is at No. 11.” Oh, say it ain’t so …
That’s International beer pouring, pal. John Brewer of the PiPress covers this guy: “St. Paul’s own ‘Draught Master,’ Sean Besser Hank, came in fourth Wednesday night while competing in the world championships of a beer-pouring contest sponsored by Stella Artois beer. Besser Hank, 33, won the U.S. competition in October and flew to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sunday to compete against 24 other beer-pouring champs in the world finals.” I’m pretty sure the beer-drinking competition is next door in you-know-where.
Today in Bachmannia: She’s opposed to whatever Obama said about student loans. Brian Bakst of the AP writes: “Bachmann criticized a directive by President Barack Obama to ease student loan debt as an ‘abuse of power’ that will give people incentive to dodge debt. The candidates reacted Thursday to a decision Obama announced a day earlier to cap required payments for some college loan borrowers at a lower percentage of their income and forgive payments for others after 20 y ears. He used executive authority to accelerate a law that wasn’t supposed to go into effect until 2014. ‘I believe it is abuse of power from the executive to impose via an executive order a wholesale change in the student loan,’ Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, said during an education forum in New York put on by The College Board and News Corp.” Isn’t the news here that she was invited to an “education forum”?