Hello! GOP Sen. Roger Chamberlain offers some nigh-on-to-coherent thinking on Vikings stadium financing. Mike Kaszuba of the Strib writes: “[T]hree Republican senators offered a plan Thursday that would limit any direct public subsidy to the team to a $300 million loan. The proposal — which the Vikings and Gov. Mark Dayton quickly dismissed — took the stadium debate at the state Capitol in an entirely different direction: Arguing that the team should only be offered minimal assistance and nothing beyond what other businesses could expect. The three senators, led by Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, said that the state should not be involved in whether the stadium had ‘gold-plated tile’ and needed to cost $1 billion. The Legislature ‘shouldn’t have an interest in whether they build a stadium with a roof or astro-turf, or how many suites they have, or whether it’s in Ramsey County,’ said Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, a co-author of the proposal. ‘Those are things that the business itself ought to work out with local communities who have interest in hosting that site.’ But the plan had one new caveat: The proposal also called for a phase out beginning in 2014 of the statewide business property tax.” As I say … “nigh on to …”
At MPR, Tim Nelson writes: “[Chamberlain] said state bonds would be paid back with a 10 percent tax on virtually all business transactions at a new stadium. ‘The bill lists anything, pretty much anything within that stadium parcel. Parking, you’d tax parking. You’d tax tickets and concessions,’ he said. ‘Only the people going to that stadium would be paying for that.’ ”
Less inspired thinking is reported by Tad Vezner and Frederick Melo at the PiPress: “[The bill] was introduced by House Majority Whip Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, who had not been notably involved in the stadium debate until now. Hamilton proposed using money raised by authorizing electronic bingo and pull-tab games to pay for a large portion of the costs for an Arden Hills stadium. His legislation calls for:
• The Vikings to contribute $425 million.
• Ramsey County to contribute $10 million annually “as funds are available.”
• The state to cover the remaining $650 million, including $549 million for stadium construction and $101 million for public infrastructure.
“The bill calls for the 65,000-seat roofed stadium, which would include 21,000 parking spaces and a Vikings museum and hall of fame, to be open by June 2016. Public bonds for the stadium would be paid off by up to $72 million from the state’s general fund. As for where that money would come from, ‘the commissioner of management and budget shall determine the annual funds available from all sources, including electronic bingo and pull tab proceeds, tax increment contributions from Ramsey County, and transportation funds,’ the legislation proposes.” Don’t forget the kids’ piggy banks and college funds.
The specifics of the U.S. Postal Service’s cutbacks are becoming clear. The AP reports: “The Postal Service said Thursday it will move processing from Duluth and Rochester to St. Paul and processing operations in St. Cloud, Mankato and Bemidji to Minneapolis. Retail operations will remain open. Postal Service spokesman Pete Nowacki says about 230 positions will be affected in Minnesota and attempts will be made to reassign employees to vacant positions or other facilities.”
Oh … never mind. Paul Walsh and Matt McKinney of the Strib write: “What was first reported Thursday morning in south Minneapolis as a possible child abduction turned out to be a case of a girl not wanting to go to school, authorities said. Police officers with K9 were called to a neighborhood southeast of Lake Nokomis about a possible child abduction. Sgt. William Palmer said that the ‘abduction’ that witnesses thought they saw was actually a father forcibly carrying his daughter into Wenonah Elementary School.” I’m guessing someone hadn’t done her homework.
It’s tough being a moose in Minnesota. Doug Smith of the Strib reports: “Minnesota’s moose population continues its perplexing decline, and now officials are pondering whether to continue the moose hunting season. Researchers counted 4,230 moose during an aerial survey this winter, a drop from 4,900 last year. ‘Estimates from the survey and results from research using radio-collared moose both indicate that the population has been declining in recent years,’ Mark Lenarz, Department of Natural Resources forest wildlife group leader, said in a news release. Minnesota’s moose population was estimated at 8,840 in 2006 and has declined since then.”
A happy family reunited … ? Says Maricella Miranda at the PiPress: “The father who abandoned his 11-year-old son in their Lakeville home last summer agreed Wednesday in court to cooperate with the child’s mother in creating a joint child-custody agreement. Steven A. Cross, 60, asked again to be reunited with his son, Sebastian, during a child-protection hearing in Dakota County District Court. But District Judge Richard Spicer said the child had written the judge a letter, saying he liked living at his maternal great-aunt’s home and having visits with his mother. As for reuniting with his father, he’s ‘not sure about dad,’ Spicer said. A court-appointed doctor evaluating Cross in the case said he “lacks empathy for Sebastian” and continues to deny that he abandoned his son, Spicer said. The doctor recommended not letting Cross reunite with the boy right now. Cross has ‘complied with everything but being able to meet the threshold that the therapist has set,’ Spicer said. After the hearing, Cross said he acknowledged that he has to ‘do more work’ to see his son.”
Also from Ms. Miranda: sexual predation … with a twist: “A teacher’s aide will serve 90 days in jail for performing sexual acts on a 16-year-old male student in 2009 while the two were in her car parked behind a Burnsville business. Michelle Rose Chlan, 27, who worked at Shakopee Junior High School, also was sentenced Tuesday in Dakota County District Court to 15 years of probation, according to court records. District Judge Erica MacDonald ordered Chlan to abide by a list of court requirements, including attending a sex offender program and submitting to polygraph exams. Chlan also must register as a predatory offender and submit to random searches of herself and her property.” Who knew the kid would talk about it?
Finally, I don’t link to MPR on-air segments often enough. But I happened to catch a remarkably nuanced speech on today’s Westminster Town Hall Forum by … travel writer Rick Steves. The topic was “Travel as a Political Act.” If I had heard a fraction of Steves’ breadth and depth from the GOP candidates in their CNN debate last night I wouldn’t be reaching for the Xanax today.