The belief that electronic pull tabs will deliver sufficient revenues to pay for a Vikings stadium is almost as quantifiable as the team’s importance to our cultural well-being. Elizabeth Dunbar of MPR says: “The Department of Revenue estimated electronic pull tabs could bring in up to $42.7 million annually in taxes from the sale of the games once the devices are installed in 3,500 bars and social clubs throughout the state. Dayton said that money could be used to pay off the debt if the state borrows money to contribute to the new stadium. But the estimate is based on a series of assumptions that are only loosely linked to hard data. That’s because no other state has a system like the one that would be proposed in Minnesota, so state officials had to combine whatever data was available from the state’s own experience with paper pull tabs with limited information on electronic gambling ventures in other states. Estimates also assume that more non-profits will participate in charitable gambling, that more bars will be interested in placing devices in their establishments, and that enough Minnesotans will play the games so that each electronic pull tab machine sells an average of $250 worth of games per day.”
Meanwhile … the special session … might be back on … maybe. The AP’s version of events says: “The team’s lead allies in the House and Senate said they would introduce a detailed stadium proposal soon — with tax proceeds from some type of gambling expansion as the likeliest chief funding source — then air it in public hearings, with a goal of passing a plan before the regular legislative session starts in late January. ‘I would hope this would all be wrapped up and put away and done, and in a bipartisan spirit, before session starts,’ said Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, the lead Senate supporter.” She didn’t really say, “in a bipartisan spirit,” did she?
A Tom Scheck story at MPR gets into this interesting facet of the deal-making: “Dayton’s spokeswoman told MPR News Dayton’s deputy chief of staff met with lobbyists representing the Mille Lacs Band of the Ojibwe and Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. Those tribes run two of the largest tribal casinos in the state. Dayton told MPR News that he hasn’t spoken directly with tribal leaders but he endorsed the idea of asking them to make a contribution to help pay for a stadium. ‘That’s a possibility and in fact, it was evidently discussed last night at the working group of a number of legislators and they may initiate that. I think it’s a good idea.’ Tribal leaders are actively lobbying against an expansion of gambling to help pay for the stadium. John McCarthy, executive director of Minnesota’s Indian Gaming Association, said he doubted tribal leaders would make such a contribution, since he said many of the tribes can’t fund all of their needs.” Dang, but I would love to hear the recording of the tribes being “asked to make a contribution.”
Doug Belden’s PiPress story says: “After a stadium bill is drafted, the plan is to hold hearings to get input from the public, the lawmakers said. It’s not clear what this means about the likelihood of dealing with the stadium issue in a special session before the 2012 regular session, which begins January 24 — other than it won’t happen before Thanksgiving as Dayton had originally proposed. Rosen and [Sen. Morrie] Lanning both said they want to get the stadium issue wrapped up before the 2012 regular session, though ‘whether we can be ready for it later into December or early January remains to be seen,’ Lanning said.”
Today in Bachmannia: Giving her all in Iowa, Our Gal is not much impressed with the Occupy Wall Street movement. The AP’s Phillip Elliott reports: “[Michele] Bachmann on Thursday said their frustrations should instead be directed at Washington politicians who protect their allies and put unfriendly companies out of business. Bachmann said politicians have far too much power and unfairly pick winners and losers. The Minnesota congresswoman, trying to recapture her once surging poll numbers, said she has watched lawmakers enact laws that intentionally shut businesses down. ‘For your sake and for your future, America — and Occupy Wall Street in particular — needs to wake up and stop blaming the free market, stop blaming capitalism, stop blaming job creators for the failures created by selfish politicians,’ Bachmann told students at Iowa State University. ‘The problem is politicians who wink at their political donors and through the force of law put their competitors out of business.’ “
Sorry, Jesse. A federal judge has tossed the case of The Body v. Homeland Security. Dave Hanners at the PiPress writes that, yes, he did play the “Do you know who I am?” card. “A federal judge Thursday tossed out former Gov. Jesse Ventura’s lawsuit that argued body searches at airports violated his right against unreasonable and unwarranted searches. In her dismissal, U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson didn’t address the merits of Ventura’s suit, but rather said she lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. … His suit said that despite his status ‘as a frequent flyer, a veteran of the United States military and having been the state of Minnesota’s highest-elected official … TSA did not give him the option of submitting to less intrusive security measures such as use of a magnetic hand wand, nor was he given the option of a ‘trusted traveler’ medical or other exemption from the (whole-body imaging) or pat-down body search procedures.’ After a hearing in his case in federal court in July, he went up to a Justice Department lawyer and complained to her, ‘This is not the country I was born in. We’re a fascist nation now.’ “
The Twins have hired a 33-year-old to replace John Gordon. Joe Christenson and Paul Walsh at the Strib write: “The Minnesota Twins announced Thursday that Milwaukee Brewers announcer Cory Provus will join Dan Gladden in the radio booth for play-by-play and analyst duties. The opening was created with the retirement of John Gordon after 25 years behind the Twins microphone. Provus … just completed his third year calling Brewers games beside Bob Uecker.”
Sales were up at Target, but Wall Street was disappointed. Bloomberg’s Ashley Lutz writes: “U.S. retailers’ same-store sales trailed analysts’ estimates in October, the first miss this year, as flagging consumer confidence restrained shoppers at Limited Brands Inc., Target Corp. (TGT) and Saks Inc. (SKS) Sales at Limited, operator of the Victoria’s Secret chain, rose 6 percent, missing the average projection for a 6.7 percent gain from analysts surveyed by Retail Metrics Inc. Target posted a 3.3 percent increase in sales, trailing the 4.2 percent estimate.”