GOP reps OK with Vikes leaving

MORNING EDITION

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”?

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/28/2011 - 10:07 am.

    Dear Sid:

    If we “lose” the Vikings to Los Angeles, it will be because we refused to play their game. That’s OK with me; it’s about time someone, somewhere, told professional sports it’s time to quit feeding at the public trough while players, coaches and owners make millions.

    Signed,

    Unconcerned owner of a television.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/28/2011 - 10:22 am.

    Mr. Wilf and his Vikings should make sure not to let the door hit them on the backside as we slam it shut and shout “good riddance” as they leave.

    Meanwhile, where was Ms. Bachmann when “W” was doing, as the facts show, far MORE of this type of thing while he was president (like muzzling scientific experts at the National Science Foundation and NASA whenever the facts they had researched and confirmed disagreed with what he wanted to believe)?

    Isn’t her position this, really?

    “Anything I don’t agree with is an abuse of power (no matter how legally it’s accomplished), and anything I agree with cannot possibly be an abuse of power, no matter how far the ways used to accomplish it might be outside the law.”

  3. Submitted by Jeff Klein on 10/28/2011 - 10:40 am.

    I like Republicans more when they use their superior bargaining skills on the Vikings rather than on the poor, spineless DFLers.

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/28/2011 - 11:27 am.

    Say, Bri?

    It’s too bad that the Trojan Sexual Health Report Card doesn’t include K-12 schools…it would be the one area that Metro public schools would shine in. MPS & SPPS are all about keepin’ the candy dish in the nurse’s office full of rocket wrappers for the kiddies.

    Also, I have to admit that RT Rybak, even among his tax lovin’, leftist ilk, may well be sporting more testicular fortitude than any mayor in the country.

  5. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/28/2011 - 11:40 am.

    If losing the Vikings freaks you out for some reason, just look around; MN without the Vikings looks exactly like today (Friday, Oct. 28), and the other 355 or more days a years the Vikings aren’t playing a football game. Is it really a bad day because the Vikings aren’t playing? Is our economy toast today the a Vikings game? Are people depressed? Are people lost and forlorn with nothing to do? Wouldn’t it be nice to not have this constant stadium debate? Wouldn’t it be nice to not see our government hijacked on behalf of out of state billionaires? I actually think a guy can make a pretty good argument that we’d be better off without the most arrested group of athletes in the NFL.

  6. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/28/2011 - 11:43 am.

    By the way, it’s not just the GOP that’s OK with the Vikings leaving. 74% of Minnesotan’s don’t want to pay for the stadium, and 60% actually say they’d rather the Vikings move to LA than pay for a stadium. It’s funny, some in the media almost seem to have been taken by surprise regarding this stadium resistance. What’s up with that?

  7. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/28/2011 - 12:14 pm.

    Mayor Rybak and the other political leaders of the state need to realize that the issue is not about getting the Vikings an adequate place to play football. The issue is about Zygi Wilf getting the state and the taxpayers to do what he wants, with the least expense to him. Sure, there are dozens of good alternatives to the Arden Hills plan (e.g. building a stadium somewhere that people might actually be able to get to), but that would mean Mr. Wilf has been denied. It’s ego: how could he hold his head up among his fellow team owners if he didn’t get his way? He would look like less of a man.

  8. Submitted by Frankie Barbella on 10/28/2011 - 12:43 pm.

    If the Vikings or any other private entity cannot compete without state subsidizes then they should not exist, period. If the GOP are responsible for the Vikings leaving by not suppling the Wilfs with a portion of the product of my labor, then they have earned my vote!

  9. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/28/2011 - 04:38 pm.

    If you live in Ramsey County and haven’t yet heard of the petition you can sign to support putting the stadium sales tax on the ballot (whether or not you support the stadium), you can indicate your willingness to sign the petition by visiting http://www.nostadiumtax.info. We are entitled by law to vote this tax up or down, but may lose that right if we don’t make A BIG NOISE.

    Those who are organizing this effort are everywhere on the political spectrum from right to left, which pretty mirrors the legislature on this topic.

  10. Submitted by Robert Langford on 10/28/2011 - 06:35 pm.

    Just a shout out to the Lynx, far and away the best (maybe only good) professional sports team in Minnesota. I am very glad the President contacted Coach Reeves, and am thrilled our team will be honored by a visit with the President. Now it is time for a few more ticket sales. It is the best and least expensive show in town.

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