Minneapolis’ contribution to Vikes stadium: $675 million

It appears Minneapolis has its City Council ducks in a row for a pro-stadium vote. Eric Roper of the Strib reports: “Mayor R.T. Rybak delivered seven ‘yes’ votes for his Vikings stadium plan from the Minneapolis City Council Tuesday night in a test vote that followed two hours of public testimony. The vote adds Rybak’s stadium plan to the city’s lobbying agenda, a largely symbolic measure which reaffirms to lawmakers at the State Capitol that Minneapolis has enough support to pass the final legislation. Rybak has proposed using existing sales taxes — a citywide sales tax, downtown liquor and restaurant taxes and a hotel tax — to pay for the city’s share of a new Vikings stadium … In modern dollars, the city’s contribution will be $150 million for construction and $198 million for operations. But at a public hearing Tuesday, the city’s chief finance officer said the city’s contribution will actually amount to $675 million when accounting for inflation. ‘I think that’s the first time publicly that dollar figure has ever been released,’ said Council Member Gary Schiff, an opponent of the mayor’s plan.”

So … on to the floor, and a real vote. The day in stadium news includes: Doug Belden of the PiPress says: “The Vikings stadium bill got a strong vote of confidence in a Senate committee and has one more to clear before reaching the floor. The Senate Jobs and Economic Growth committee approved the bill without recommendation Tuesday … and forwarded it for review by the Finance committee Wednesday morning. The voice vote appeared to be unanimous — Chair Geoff Michel, R-Edina, said he didn’t hear any ‘No’ votes. Following approval in a different Senate committee Friday, the bill appears to be on a roll, Michel said. ‘I do think after a while it starts to take on a little bit of momentum and an air of inevitability,’ he said.”

At MPR, Tim Nelson offers coverage of an unhappy St. Paul mayor: “[GOP Sen. Julie] Rosen restored language to the bill allowing Minneapolis to fund a rehab project for Target Center with some of the money from the downtown sales taxes … That drew an objection in person from St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. He said Minneapolis has had a ‘great deal’ of state investment that has allowed it to build facilities like the Minneapolis Convention Center and the Metrodome. ‘St. Paul has gone it alone without that revenue. Even the state loan for the Xcel Energy Center is repaid by the city of St. Paul and the Minnesota Wild,’ Coleman said. ‘There’s no equity and no comparison to what the investment on the part of the state has been in the city of St. Paul.’ DFL Sen. Jim Metzen, of South St. Paul, said he was going to rectify that. He offered an amendment that would write off more than $30 million in city debt to the state on the Xcel Energy Center. He also offered …. an additional $43 million … to pay off city debt from the RiverCentre convention center.” And while you’re at it, how about a couple grand for pavers for that patio I want to build?

Pat Kessler at WCCO-TV can’t resist including a near Romney-like moment for Mayor Coleman: “A century old rivalry between Minneapolis and St Paul erupted Tuesday. Capitol City lawmakers demanded subsidies for The Xcel Energy Center, RiverCentre and a new ballpark for the St. Paul Saints as a price of their support. ‘We’re not so much the Twin Cities as we are Siamese Twin Cities in the sense that one who is healthy and the other who is struggling,’ said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.” On TV Coleman was this close to saying, “dying.”

MinnPost’s Doug Grow offers more on the two-city rivalry here.

The Strib’s Mike Kaszuba writes: “Tuesday’s action showed that stadium supporters were again trying to steer the proposal through a series of House and Senate committees without, if possible, having legislators individually vote on the project. Of the five House and Senate panels that have debated the Vikings stadium plan this month, three of the panels have passed the proposal on simple voice votes. In one of the two hearings where there was a roll call vote — with legislators having to cast individual votes — the plan failed. Since National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell visited the state Capitol last Friday, the Vikings stadium plan has not only been resurrected but gained increasing political steam. Some legislators however have complained that the quickened pace of the proposal — and the political short cuts being taken — might be offensive to the public. Sen. Richard Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, said the Legislature’s treatment of the Vikings stadium plan in the past few days was making lawmakers look like ‘a total gang of idiots.’

The fireworks are on the governor’s desk. Jim Ragsdale at the Strib reports: “Gov. Mark Dayton will soon decide whether Minnesotans can purchase and use more powerful fireworks. The Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to the bill and the amendments that were added on Monday in the House. That means the bill goes to Dayton, who has heard from both sides in the debate but has not said which way he is leaning.”

Longtime conservative activist/personality Joe Repya files a commentary in the Strib on … the complete mess that is his Republican Party: “In a stealthy, below-the-radar maneuver, most of MNGOP has been taken over by the Ron Paul movement. It appears that most selected delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa this summer will cast their votes for Ron Paul … At my Second Congressional District convention on April 21, Paul supporters openly bragged that they had 45 to 50 percent of the state convention delegates and that they would capture the remaining 17 at-large delegates to add to the 20 they already have. They also claim they will endorse state Rep. Kurt Bills, R-Rosemount, backed by Ron Paul himself, to run against U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. When asked whether they would support Mitt Romney if he wins the nomination, many Paul supporters said no, unless he selects U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ron Paul’s son, as his vice presidential running mate. That more than anything has the establishment MNGOP in a dither. Rightly or wrongly, they see many of the young, undisciplined and politically naïve Ron Paul movement members as anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-national defense and pro-legalization of drugs.”

The belief is that his opposition to a taxpayer-supported stadium cost him his position. Frederick Melo of the PiPress writes: “A prominent St. Paul political activist who has steadfastly opposed efforts to pay for a Minnesota Vikings stadium in Arden Hills with county funds says it may have cost him the chairmanship of the Ramsey County DFL. Rod Halvorson, a founding member of the “No Stadium Tax” coalition, was defeated by fellow St. Paul resident and retired printer Fred Perez by a wide margin. The vote, which was 113 to 63, took place Saturday during the Congressional District 4 DFL Convention … Halvorson said he was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by the outcome, which struck him as an organized effort to oust him because of his anti-stadium views. He called Perez a friend of Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega, one of two county commissioners who have pushed for a new stadium in Arden Hills. A push by labor interests ‘supportive of jobs at any cost’ probably helped Perez, as well, Halvorson said.”

I’d like to think I’d do the same, but … Chad Richardson of The Hastings Star Gazette reports: “Two dogs were rescued from a house fire in Hastings on Monday, with one of them receiving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from a neighbor. The dogs were rescued from a burning home by firefighters from the Hastings Fire Department, then were quickly cared for by bystanders and rushed to the veterinarian. … The residents were not home at the time, but their two dogs and a rabbit were. After firefighters knocked down the flames enough to enter, they found the two pets and rushed them outside into the arms of a family member. One white dog was struggling to breathe, and that’s when neighbor Tara Mauch jumped in. While the dog was held by another bystander, Mauch began giving the dog mouth-to-mouth. ‘I was just trying to blow the air out of his lungs,’ she said. What she did apparently helped the dog.” I’d draw the line at pet pythons.

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Comments (15)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/25/2012 - 07:48 am.

    The comment that applies to all of the stories above:

    If you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/25/2012 - 08:15 am.

    Total nonsense

    “Rightly or wrongly, they see many of the young, undisciplined and politically naïve Ron Paul movement members as anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-national defense and pro-legalization of drugs.”

    Repya’s spouting nonsense and needs to name names when he starts calling Christians anti-semitic and accusing veterans of being anti-national defense. The good ol boy party of country club members and hobby farmers is definitely in transition and some people are handling it better than others.

    But it’s all inside baseball that means nothing to the average voter when he steps into the voting booth to choose between a free society where individuals control their own lives or one where republican politicians are simply the tax collectors for the welfare state.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/25/2012 - 09:05 am.

      Ron Paul advocates the legalization of drugs. Ron Paul advocate for the shrinking of the international military footprint of the US. Ron Paul advocates the restriction of legal and illegal immigrants.

      Absolutely no confusion of doubt with those issues

      As for anti-Semitic, let me farm that out to David Horowitz in a commentary in “Right Wing News”:


      Long ago Bill Buckley drummed the anti-Semites out of the conservative movement, and the movement thrived as a result. But the Jew-haters have returned. For years the Texas crackpot, Ron Paul, has been attacking America and Israel as imperialist powers — the Great Satan and the Little Satan, and calling for America’s retreat from the battle against our totalitarian enemies. At the recent CPAC conference Paul’s Jew-hating storm-troopers swarmed the Freedom Center’s table to vent their spleen against Israel as a Nazi state. Now Paul is making a priority of withdrawing aid for Israel — the only democracy in the Middle East and the only reliable ally of the United States.


      (end quote)

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 04/25/2012 - 08:40 am.

    Let’s See if I’ve Got This Right

    The “Christian” “Conservative” Santorum supporters showed up at Republican Caucuses on Precinct Caucus night just long enough to cast their votes in the straw poll and ensure a Santorum win,…

    but nobody noticed that it was the Ron Paul folks who stayed through the evening and, in a coup similar to the one those same “Christian” “Conservatives” (at the urging of some national religious leaders) pulled off in the GOP beginning back in the 1980s, elected each other as precinct chairs and delegates to the GOP County Conventions,…

    County Conventions at which they elected each other delegates to the District Conventions where they elected each other delegates to the National GOP Convention,…

    and this new state leadership of the GOP doesn’t stand for the old Republican, “God, Guns, and Gays” platform, but has a new anti-immigration, anti-Semitic, anti-national defense, pro-drugs platform?

    Clearly the MN GOP has entered a “Brave New World” while no one was paying attention.

    Either that or they have slipped off to “The Twilight Zone.” I guess it remains to be seen which of these titles is most accurate.

    (and I had hoped that the old GOP moderates would take back their party from the Christian Conservatives this year.)

    What will it even mean to be “Republican” in Minnesota, now?

  4. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 04/25/2012 - 09:48 am.

    Ron Paul = John Birch Society

    They were fringe kooks in the 50s and 60s, they are kooks now. Funny comment about naming names when it comes to calling Christians anti-semetic. Don’t Christians have over a thousand years of being anti-semetic? Back in the middle ages when the Muslims were far more tolerant of the Jews, the “Christians” were burning them at the stake in order to “save” their souls. Unfortunately tor the super-conservative, literalist wing of the Christian church, burning at the stake has been outlawed, but the idea that all the Jews and most of the rest of us are going to Hell has not gone away.

  5. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 04/25/2012 - 09:55 am.

    the stadium fix is in

    Recent developments confirm my believe that our government is totally corrupt. The “leaders” of the city don’t demand their right to vote by referendum even though it is obviously the will of their people.
    The legislature steers the stadium away from any committee that may demand a role call vote or may rock the boat even if it is nonsense to avoid that committee (the tax committee). They are doing everything by voice vote so no one will have to own up to responsibility when election time comes. How cowardly and immoral. Rybak, Rosen and Dayton will all be collecting retirement benefits from the NFL in a couple years. Funny that Walmart gets caught paying bribes in Mexico but no one gets caught here because they are sure acting like they got bribed.

  6. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 04/25/2012 - 10:13 am.

    How long has the Mayor known about this $675 million estimate?

    One could say that’s how long he has been deceiving the public.

    You gotta wonder: what else is the Mayor hiding?

    I cannot believe that this is the first time the Mayor knew “…the city’s contribution will actually amount to $675 million when accounting for inflation.” – unless of course he never communicates with his CFO.

    This revolting fact is just one of the reasons the sponsors have to try and ram this legislation through in a last-minute, hysterical rush. If they didn’t, the public and the legislators themselves would have time to weigh and consider it in all its dimensions and discover all the filthy details.

    We can’t have that, now, can we?

  7. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/25/2012 - 10:13 am.

    The Paul coup

    We have another article about the Paul takeover right here on Minnpost’s Blog Cabin: http://www.minnpost.com/minnesota-blog-cabin/2012/04/music-cafes-night-and-revolution-air

    The problem with the Republicans is that they have absolutely no legitimate intellectual foundation at this point, nor any legitimate intellectuals producing any compelling ideas or even asking interesting any interesting questions. They have created a separate reality for themselves informed by hysteria, paranoia, and misinformation. Given this environment McCain’s disastrous decision to bring Sara Palin and her band of idiots into the party was almost inevitable. Untethered from any coherent connection to reality it no doubt seemed like bringing the Tea Party and Libertarians in as useful idiots was a good idea at the time, but many outside observers recognized that it could be the end of the Republican Party as we know it.

    Republican ideology has long been mired in irrelevancies, but the problem now is that Republicans have become useless. They can’t even ask interesting questions anymore, and they can’t deliver the goods to their benefactors. What’s killing the Republican party now is their complete inability to deliver anything other than division and legislative deadlock. The business boys who sponsor Republicans want results, and I’m not talking about voter ID and marriage amendments.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/25/2012 - 10:45 am.


      That’s hilarious coming from the party who’s only principles are “tax the rich” and “give me free stuff.” That’s a real intellectual foundation for you.

  8. Submitted by craig furguson on 04/25/2012 - 11:19 am.

    Stadium votes

    I’ll point out that the Hennepin County Commissioners did not suffer one bit, nada, for voting in the stadium. Neither will the Minneapolis City Council. The public has short memories and is not the power in charge.

  9. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 04/25/2012 - 01:00 pm.

    Ha Ha

    Mr Tester, don’t get testy. Weren’t you the guy who said all taxes are immoral? Talk about “give me free stuff”, how about a country without taxes; now there is some free stuff.

  10. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 04/25/2012 - 01:38 pm.

    Ha Ha

    As usual, Mr. Tester forgets to add the adjective “corporate” to welfare state. There is far more corporate welfare in this country – subsidies, import protections, tax loop holes, etc. And if they get their way, republican politicians will not even have to be simple tax collectors because there will be no corporate taxes. They can work on paying off the party debt.

  11. Submitted by James Hamilton on 04/25/2012 - 06:42 pm.

    One need not be on Paul’s camp

    to understand the need to decriminalize, regulate and tax most drugs. The war is over; everyone but our elected officials knows we lost.

    When you can’t eliminate a disease, you adapt to it and find ways to contain it’s effects. Decriminalizing and regulation will allow some control over who grows/manufactures and distributes the drugs, as well as who profits from their sale. Taxation will help us recover the cost of responding to drug addiction.

    This is not a moral issue, any more than Prohibition was. People like to get high and have since the first proto-human ate a leaf or drank a fermented liquid, found it a pleasant experience and gave one to a companion. It’s not because they’re dissolute; it’s because the drugs do what chemicals naturally occuring in our bodies do, only better and on command.

  12. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 04/27/2012 - 09:02 am.

    The numbers game…trivia, but

    “675 million”…where do these numbers come from? I do wonder when the same number came up in the fall of 2006…

    While doing a column; doing a spoof on the soon to be built Amsoil Arena in Duluth, I researched; compared figures back then with other proposed arenas in the state at the time which included the “675 million” figure…”The Vikings are proposing a 675 million stadium, with 242 million of that amount being requested from the state.” October 2006.

    Call it a numbers game…and when same figure comes up in a different context some years later – trivia question yes, but when old numbers come back to haunt us, does leave this one wondering, who’s doing the math?

    Big round numbers must come from god herself since no one really questions them?

    I guess one could conclude also…if we had built the Vikings arena back then it would be a lot cheaper…which is just more trivia, but…

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