Senate passes stadium bill, grabs user fees, $25 million more from Vikes

The Senate passed its version of the Vikings stadium bill shortly before midnight last night. Baird Helgeson of the Strib writes: “The Minnesota Vikings won another testy political battle late Tuesday at the state Capitol, but were left with a project that was much less appealing to the team. The Senate ended an 11-hour debate by approving plans for a new $1 billion stadium on a 38 to 28 vote amid cheers from Vikings fans who could be heard throughout the state Capitol. … The Senate version differs dramatically from the bill the House passed the day before, adding 10 percent user fees for tickets and parking during NFL games to help pay the state’s share. With chances for an overall tax bill in doubt, the Senate also tacked on a provision to force Internet retailers to collect state taxes and another that would give tax breaks for expansion at the Mall of America. … Stadium supporters warned against pushing the team too far. ‘It seems like we’re hanging [the Vikings] upside down and trying to get all the loose change out of their pocket,’ said a frustrated Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, the chief Senate stadium author. ‘We just keep smacking them around.’ “

Well before the Senate vote, it was clear that there were going to be a few more changes that wouldn’t make the Vikings happy. Mike Kaszuba of the Strib was saying at mid-evening last night: “[I]n another sign that the Vikings were in a bruising political fight at the state Capitol, the Senate stripped language that would give Vikings owner Zygi Wilf or anyone else whose family are owners of the football team an exclusive right for five years to bring in a professional soccer team to the new stadium.
The chief Senate stadium author meanwhile unveiled a series of new user fees — a departure from what the House passed late Monday — that would be used to help pay the state’s share of the $1 billion project. … the new user fees proposed by Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, seemed to be a concession to a relatively large bloc of Senate members who want the fees to help pay for part of the controversial project. The team however has generally been opposed to user fees. The user fees include a 10 percent fee on the sale or rental of stadium suites, a 10 percent fee on parking within a half mile of the stadium during National Football League events and a 6.875 percent fee on team jerseys and other league-licensed products sold at the stadium.”

At Time magazine, Sean Gregory shines a spotlight on a St. Cloud legislator. “King Banaian is a rare specimen. First off, he’s a professor from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota who teaches a course on the economics of sports stadiums. So he’s plenty familiar with one of the rare economic arguments that almost everyone in his field can agree on: the public benefits of sports facilities don’t outweigh the public cost. But Banaian is also a state politician, a Republican member of Minnesota’s House of Representatives. So he now has a chance to apply his ivory-tower research to the real world, as the state is embroiled in an emotional battle to keep its pro football team, the Vikings, in Minnesota. … Banaian has run the numbers, and believes the $443 million public cost is too prohibitive, especially in a down economy. … Economic study after economic study has shown that the promises of stadium windfalls don’t come true. One major reason is the substitution effect: if people don’t spend their discretionary dollars on season tickets and hot dogs and parking and other costs associated with attending sports events, they’ll spend it on other activities and businesses within a metropolitan area (the movies, the car dealership, restaurants). Or maybe individuals will — gasp — save that Vikings money, which might not help local GDP in the short-term, but could greatly benefit an individual down the road.

The Chicago-based “collections” agency lacerated by AG Lori Swanson for heavy-handed practices in metro area hospitals has friends in high places. Corey Mitchell of the Strib writes: “Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has asked Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson to back off of Accretive Health Inc. until she’s met company executives to discuss her concerns about its collection practices. In an undated letter addressed to Swanson, Emanuel defends Chicago-based Accretive, which served as a financial consultant at Fairview hospitals until last month when she released a report that alleged the company  violated federal and state laws, including those regulating debt collection and patient privacy, to collect debt from patients. Emanuel’s letter did not directly address any of the concerns Swanson’s report raised, but said Accretive Health ‘does important work for hospitals and good things for our City, particularly for our neediest citizens.’ ” And Emanuel has friends even higher up.

Peter Frost of the Chicago Tribune notes: “Accretive, one of Chicagoland’s fastest-growing companies, received $6 million in tax increment financing from the City of Chicago in 2010 to help it build a service center on South LaSalle Street that was projected to employ 650 people. The company also received a mixture of tax and job-training credits from the state of Illinois valued at $1.42 million. The mayor has held up the company as an example of worthwhile TIF investment. Emanuel toured the LaSalle Street offices of the company in March, talking with executives and interacting with workers as part of what his administration said was an effort to understand what businesses have experienced and identify opportunity for future potential growth.”

It’ll be a rematch in Wisconsin. Jason Stein and Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel write: “Shrugging off millions of dollars spent by labor groups to defeat him, Tom Barrett walked to victory in Tuesday’s Democratic primary and set up a more taxing sprint toward June 5 — a historic recall that will be a rematch of his unsuccessful 2010 race against Gov. Scott Walker. In the recall primary, The Associated Press called the race for the Milwaukee mayor over former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, showing that more than $4 million doesn’t necessarily buy a close race. Even as Barrett was campaigning to the primary win Tuesday, Walker was barnstorming the state, showing the fight he will bring to what is expected to be a tight, brutal month of campaigning for one of the most important elections to state office in Wisconsin history. A poll last week showed Walker and Barrett in a dead heat.”

In the Washington Post, Rachel Weiner says: “ ‘Tom Barrett is a strong leader who will end the political turmoil Scott Walker has brought to this state and reunite Wisconsin to get us moving forward again,’ said Kristen Crowell, executive director of the labor coalition We Are Wisconsin. ‘AFSCME members have been proud to support our friend Kathleen Falk,’ said AFSCME Council 24 Executive Director Marty Beil. AFSCME clashed with Barrett in Milwaukee and criticized him more harshly than other unions in the primary. ‘But the ultimate goal has always been to defeat Scott Walker.’ … despite Walker’s massive investment, polls show the state evenly split between the two candidates. Few voters are undecided, so turnout will be the key to victory. Collective bargaining has been overshadowed among voters by jobs and the economy. Wisconsin has had the worst job growth in the country, although unemployment is at its lowest since 2008. Walker is far from his goal of creating 250,000 new jobs.”

Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council, writes an anti-gambling commentary for MPR: “Who should pay for a new Vikings stadium? Minnesotans with gambling problems and addictions? It sounds preposterous, yet that’s the effect of legislation seeking to fund a new Vikings stadium with a massive expansion of gambling. … Doing so would be an enormous mistake for several reasons. … it will lead to bigger government. It’s estimated that 1 percent of the public is vulnerable to gambling addiction and problems. That’s 50,000 Minnesotans. These Minnesotans have families and employers who will suffer the consequences of their gambling problems. Just ask the spouses or ex-spouses of problem gamblers. Such gambling breaks up marriages and families. And when families break up, more children are thrown into poverty, putting added burden on our social welfare system, which is called upon to pick up the pieces. It also increases crimes like embezzlement, theft, etc., which means more funds will be needed for public safety. Numerous studies show these costs far outweigh any benefits from the additional gambling.”

Nick Coleman notes the seven welcome-home events last weekend for Minnesotans returning from war zones … and who was conspicuously absent: “Dayton did not attend a single ceremony, and his absence did not go unnoticed by the returning troops and their families. Returning home is an emotional experience, one in which you hope to have your sacrifice, and your extended separation from your family, recognized and honored by the figurative leader of the state. Unfortunately, Mark Dayton had more important things to do. Dayton spent the weekend dancing and prancing with Vikings fans at a series of rallies to gin up 11th-hour support for a $1B Vikings stadium. There was one at the Mall of America on Saturday, a day when troops came home to Bloomington and Anoka, and another Vikings rally at a union bar in Minneapolis on Sunday, when troops were arriving home in New Ulm, Luverne, Jackson, Bloomington and Anoka. Dayton is expected to appear at a formal ceremony this summer that is planned as an ‘official’ recognition.”

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Comments (29)

  1. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/09/2012 - 06:41 am.

    Sen. Rosen’s “The Deal”

    As Senators pointed out last night in the debate on amendments to the stadium bill, there was one missing party in the alleged “negotiations” leading to the actual content of the bill…

    …the VOTERS and TAXPAYERS, who had no one in that meeting to speak for them. The metropolitan tribes were represented; and our rah-rah Mayor was there to represent downtown business interests, and of course other stadium supporters from the Legislature were in on it.

    But as these Senators pointed out several times last night, no one was there to represent the voters and taxpayers of Minnesota.

    So if you’re wondering how such a terrible bargain, from the taxpayers’ point of view, could have been struck, now you know. All those hundreds of millions of dollars are going to come out of the taxpayers’ pockets over the decades because they were not represented in the negotiations.

    Sen. Rosen has repeatedly, in committee hearings as well as in floor debate, used “The Deal” as argument against proposed changes (many of which are vastly superior plans, in terms of the burden on the taxpayer). In many cases, she hasn’t even bothered to address the merits of proposed modifications, but rather, objected because it would upset “the deal”.

    THEN, last night, she herself took an egg-beater to “The Deal” and with a “delete all” amendment, presented numerous changes, including a virtually non-germane internet sales tax. So I guess “The Deal” isn’t so sacrosanct after all.

    And now, with a gall beyond compare, she says of the hundreds-of-millions of dollars handout, when a few crumbs are removed from the magnificent banquet table being set for the Vikings: “We just keep smacking them around.” Really, Sen. Rosen ??

  2. Submitted by Herbert Davis on 05/09/2012 - 07:55 am.

    Was their doubt?….close the libraries, cut the orchestra

    We need the money to subsidize the billionaires and make it much nicer for the fans who attend.

    Another advantage, it helps reveal the politicians who are hypocrites(free market Repubs) and REAL politicians( Dems who vote for whatever seems best for their own interests).

    In spite of overwhelming public opposition we will get new sports facilities and keep cutting the “arts” (reading etc.) until we resemble North Carolina and have workers who will work for poverty wages ( and pay taxes to support SUBSIDIES to farmers, oil companies and sports trycoons).

    Go Vikes! God Bless America !

  3. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 05/09/2012 - 08:13 am.

    More legislative hypocrisy…

    Funny how the “Substitution Effect” always comes into play when we’re talking about the cost of a stadium, but that same principle is never used as part of the discussion on state-sponsored gambling. Apparently, there are just thousands of people itching to get to a black jack table, but just can’t seem to find a way to get to one of the Induan casinos, so, in theory, we’ve saved them from themselves and the evils of gambling? Really? That’s your argument? Jeez, I can get a casino to practically pick me up at my doorstep right now. “Expansion of gambling” is just code for “huge campaign donations”. Just another reason to hate the politicians.

  4. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 05/09/2012 - 08:57 am.

    We all talk

    In the wrong places. I wrote to both my representative and my senator (did you?). I told them that I am strongly opposed to significant public funding of a private stadium. My representative wrote back after the vote telling me that she voted as her constituents told her to vote…nearly 10x as many people contacted her, either on their own or through a survey she sent out, that they wanted a stadium than those that didn’t.

    I also got an email from the senator in the district I just moved out of. She is a VERY strong, VERY vocal representative of her people. She received feedback of over 50% wanting yes, just over 40% wanting no, and a handful undecided. She also broke it down on how people conveyed their thoughts. She said that a large percentage of “no’s” were strongly no, while only a small percentage of “yes’s” were strongly yes. All things being equal, she went with the will of her constituents and not what she thought was right. She voted yes.

    So…we rant and rave on here, and then we do nothing. I highly doubt that the “yes’s” are the majority in this state, but the “no’s” are all bags of hot air. We can only hope that the Vikings turn tail on the “deal” at this point. Which is possible, and it would be a political win for those who held their noses and voted yes.

    And if you think that there will be a reckoning for those that voted yes, clearly you think that people who don’t care enough to tell their reps how they feel actually vote. That’s amusing. Hopefully, we do more than rave in November.

    • Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 05/09/2012 - 11:02 am.

      Rachel- I think you’re turning your ire on the wrong people when you assume stadium opponents are “all bags of hot air”. I certainly wrote my representative (Wagenius) and senator (Torres Ray); both voted no. I’ve also written letters to the editor, debated friends on the issue (in person and via social media), and pretty much done anything short of going to the legislature in person (I’ve done that for issues like single-payer healthcare– but can’t justify doing it for every issue that comes up). Others here, like Mr. Udstrand, have written blogs and commentaries about their opposition, in addition to their “rants and raves” here.

      Don’t assume passage of this bill means that opponents were doing nothing– sadly, when a well-funded interest wants something, it tends to get it. This is not a failure of opposition– it’s another example of the very wealthy/powerful have a different set of rules applied to them.

      • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 05/09/2012 - 01:22 pm.

        Generalization

        When just a few short months ago, 70% of potential voters said no to a stadium in a poll, and more recently only a bare few more said yes (with some manipulative questioning) than no, how is it that a stadium passed in both houses of our legislature with such a wide margin? You might have written. I wrote. But, clearly, a LARGE number of people who oppose paying for a stadium did not. It’s even more apparent when you look at who voted for it–DFLers.

        We can’t place the blame for everything on the fact that some people have more money than others. This is an example of probably part that, but also a whole lot of sitting on thumbs.

        For what it’s worth, no one expects any citizen to call or write their representative about every little thing. But the big things…it really doesn’t take that much time. They can’t read their minds. And no matter how eloquent Mr. Udstrand is, unless he posts his blog and then sends an email to his representatives linking to it (or, better yet, including a copy of the text), they’re not going to pay attention to it. Blogs are to inform other voters, not politicians.

        • Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 05/09/2012 - 01:48 pm.

          You assume that that 70% is a firm “no”- as in no public funding, don’t care if they leave, good riddance. In reality, I suspect that a good chunk of the 70% who say “no” on a survey really mean”I don’t want my taxes to go to a stadium, but I also don’t want the Vikings to leave”. Some go the rout that another commenter suggested- they are fine with making someone else (minneapolis residents and gamblers) pay. Others are fine with completely contradictory statements- they don’t want public funding, but the state should help with a stadium. Huh? It’s not unique to this issue– people are against government involvement in healthcare, but love medicare. They want safe drinking water and clean air, but think government over-regulates.

          So I don’t think this was a case of 70% of the population being firmly opposed to a publicly financed stadium, but sitting on their thumbs. I suspect there is a core of 25-30% of the population truly opposed, and willing to take the consequences of the team leaving. Another 25-30% rabidly for anything to save the team. And a mushy middle who really don’t like the idea of a subsidy for a wealthy owner/league, but gosh the vikes are fun to watch, can’t they just do something so we can adjourn this session? Those people got what they wanted, and are happily oblivious as to how it happened.

  5. Submitted by William Souder on 05/09/2012 - 09:00 am.

    Coleman on point

    Dayton chooses the stadium over returning veterans. Is there anything more to say?

    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 05/09/2012 - 09:41 am.

      Sorry William…

      …if there were nothing else going on, I’d have expected Dayton to welcome the Vets. The fact that he chose to take an active role in current gov’t business means more to me than participating in a photo op. And I’m a stadium opponent. People like you and Coleman are only on the Guv’s case because you oppose the stadium. If he were anti-stadium, your voices would have been starngely silent.

      • Submitted by Nick Coleman on 05/09/2012 - 10:57 am.

        “Photo Op?”

        Tell it to the troops.

        • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 05/09/2012 - 01:37 pm.

          Concern for “The Troops”?

          The soldiers I know only wanted to get back to home, friends and family. It didn’t matter at all to them if some politician showed up (particularly one who had no say in the war they were fighting). But I guess some people have so little scruples they’ll use any tool in the chest to try to make their point.

          But I’ll make you this offer to settle the dispute…..let’s ask Rep. Kriesel, a soldier who gave both his legs in the war, if he was offended by the Guv’s actions. I’ll take his opinion over yours or mine!

          • Submitted by Nick Coleman on 05/09/2012 - 03:41 pm.

            Reading Comprehension 101

            Mr Cage: It wasn’t me, but Guard families who were upset. If you read my post, you’d also know the Gov ORDERS troops overseas, in conjunction with the Pentagon, and often welcomes them back. This was a special occasion — the final returns from a long, costly and bloody overseas deployment of Minnesota’s citizen soldiers. Cynical? Look in the mirror.

  6. Submitted by Rachel Weisman on 05/09/2012 - 09:36 am.

    False Dichotomy. Is there anything more to say?

  7. Submitted by Mac Riddel on 05/09/2012 - 09:55 am.

    INTERNET TAXES???!?

    Why was this huge provision glossed over: “Senate also tacked on a provision to force Internet retailers to collect state taxes”. This is a massive condition tacked on to the bill and would hurt all consumers in the state of Minnesota. For this reason alone I can’t support the stadium bill…at least the Senate’s unworkable version of it.

    Skip the user fees, the internet taxes and instead, push for a state-owned casino to give the tribes some real competition. Or at least a racino at Canterbury. Keep the gambling money in-state, rather than divert it to enrich a tiny Shakopee tribe.

    • Submitted by David Greene on 05/09/2012 - 11:52 am.

      Yes, Internet Taxes!

      To me, this is the best part of the bill. Our local businesses have been at an unfair disadvantage for too long. Furthermore, people just don’t pay their use taxes and our state is losing a lot of money that could be used to shore up education, health care and transportation.

      It’s a no-brainer that companies doing business in Minnesota should collect Minnesota sales taxes.

  8. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/09/2012 - 10:12 am.

    Disgusting display

    This really has been a disgusting display of government for sale. I really wonder if our politicians understand how obvious that is to most people regardless of what side they may be on regarding the stadium. I think most people see it for what it is, and we realize that it doesn’t matter who we vote for because when push comes to shove both parties are for sale. A billion dollar Vikings stadium is one of handful of bills they manage to pull off with “bi-partisan” support? Meanwhile we have school districts cutting back to 4 days because the legislature won’t adequately fund education? No wonder once and while Minnesota voters throw a Hail Mary on a whacko like Jesse Ventura. What do we have to lose?

  9. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/09/2012 - 10:46 am.

    Banaian gets it right

    The debate about the economic utility of sports facilities was settled years ago, and is backed up by plenty of empirical research. Why, then, is the public so ready to swallow the “economic boon” clap-trap. We should just be honest and frame the argument properly: Do we want the state to raise taxes/find new revenue sources for a monument to the egos of very wealthy men?

    • Submitted by Arito Moerair on 05/09/2012 - 11:24 am.

      It’s because most people, particularly the stadium supporters, are uneducated. The same principle applies to the climate change debate.

      They disregard facts, data, and research, because they “just know” what happens. They “just know” there stadium will be an economic boon. They “just know” humans aren’t responsible when it’s 80 degrees on St Patrick’s Day in Minnesota. Their heart tells them what’s true.

      Reality has a well-known liberal bias.

    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 05/09/2012 - 11:34 am.

      or maybe..

      a lot of citizens decided they’re willing to pay more in taxes to avoid the risk of losing an NFL franchise. It could be just that simple.

      • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/09/2012 - 12:51 pm.

        No, a lot of citizens have decided OTHERS can pay more taxes.

        Now that’s even simpler !! It worked for the Twins, now it’s working for the Vikings, too.

        Aside from the boatload of taxes (in the range of $675 million to $890 million) which will be borne in the city of Minneapolis, there is the extremely regressive expanded gambling taxation, of which estimates say approximately 50% will be supported by a small number of gambling addicts.

    • Submitted by Nathan Roisen on 05/09/2012 - 12:11 pm.

      Why do people buy the economic argument?

      Interesting question that I am sure someone could do a lot of interesting research on.

      I have to think it has something to do with the visibility of Vikings-related economic activity that masks its relatively small place in the grand scheme of the economy. One of the biggest arguments of the pro-stadium people: why, I come in from (insert distant location here), spend money on a hotel downtown, and go out to eat, and so on, and all of that would go away without the Vikings!

      Think about it, though. A Vikings game will draw, at most, 70,000 people to the downtown area, on 10 days a year. That is 700,000 people/days in the downtown area…and I would bet that most of those people are not going to spend money on anything but parking and concessions. The tailgaters will bring their own food and drinks.

      For the sake of comparison, every weekday there are 160,000 people that work in downtown Minneapolis. For a 300-day work year, that is 48,000,000 people/days in downtown, and those people are spending money on many of those days.

      We are talking about a less than 2% difference in the number of warm bodies downtown…not counting business visitors, residents, shoppers, whatever. Some businesses will profit handsomely from a new stadium, but downtown is neither living or dying with the Vikings.

      Zoom out to the city or metro area as a whole, and the effect is even further diminished.

      But, those 70,000 people at the Vikings game show up on TV. Their economic activity is apparent. That makes it easy for people to visualize, much more so than the everyday economic activity downtown.

      • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 05/09/2012 - 01:27 pm.

        Nice comparison

        I just got the “I come and spend money” from one of my SD friends today. I said, “thank you, but until ALL of you come over and spend your money, it’s still an economic loss.” Not that I want all of South Dakota to come swarming over our borders for game day–although the driving might improve. 😉

  10. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 05/09/2012 - 01:36 pm.

    No one seems to be commenting on which party carried the day for the Vikings. Emphasis has been on the bill sponsors, from both parties. But if you look at the vote totals, the DFL won this stadium for the Vikings, in both houses.

    I’ll let others disect this fact.

    • Submitted by Lora Jones on 05/09/2012 - 01:45 pm.

      I suspect the answer is pretty simple

      Gov Dayton led. Zellers and Senjem didn’t.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/09/2012 - 01:53 pm.

      There’s no disecting necessary – count the votes – it’s the DFL.

      ..that is giving us this monstrosity, but much, much WORSE – it’s the DFL that is smacking down on every other alternative which could cost the taxpayers far less.

      Why ? Check out the relationship between the metro tribes and the DFL and you’ll see why.

      The metro tribes don’t want racino competition – so the DFL blocks it. The metro tribes don’t want ANOTHER tribe (White Earth) running a casino in the metro area – so the DFL blocks it. The fact that both of these proposals are so superior to the bill at hand that their comparison is entirely lopsided against the current bill is beside the point. The DFL doesn’t care what happens to the taxpayer – they protect the metro tribes at any all costs.

      I realize a lot of people in this forum think the GOP is to blame for this stadium boondoggle. But it’s really the DFL you can thank for the hundreds of millions in additional taxes. Yes, votes were needed from weak and venal GOP members, but it’s the DFL that said they had the votes and demanded the GOP pony up.

      And one more thing you can thank the DFL for is this: when the ludicrous financing scheme concocted to pay the state’s portion of the handout falls flat on its face, and money is stolen from education and human services to pay off the debt.

      Thanks a lot, DFL, for giving the voter and the taxpayer a Royal Screwing !! I’ve voted for and donated to the DFL for many years. No more !! Those of us who remember plan to make you pay, come November.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/09/2012 - 02:16 pm.

        But then what?

        Vote in even MORE Republicans so they can put forward even more ALEC legislation and constitutional amendments?

        I’m unhappy about what’s going on with the stadium, but I sure can’t get any happier about giving Republicans even more power.

        This whole debacle leaves me with a VERY bad taste in my mouth, but I sure don’t want to rinse it out with GOP!

        • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/09/2012 - 02:31 pm.

          No !! Not more Republicans !!

          Not voting DFL does NOT mean you have to vote GOP.

          There are other parties in MN (the following list is from Wikipedia)::

          * Independence Party of Minnesota[1]
          * Green Party of Minnesota
          * Ecology Democracy Party
          * Socialist Party of Minnesota (Socialist Party USA}
          * Communist Party of Minnesota (Communist Party)
          * Constitution Party of Minnesota (Constitution Party)
          * Libertarian Party of Minnesota (Libertarian Party)
          * New Union Party of Minnesota (New Union Party)
          * Socialist Workers Party of Minnesota (Socialist Workers Party)
          * Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America (Democratic socialists)
          * New Revolution Party
          * The Resource Party
          * Liberty Union Party
          * North Star Republic

          Rinsing out with GOP to remove a bad taste in the mouth will only produce a gag reflex !! Maybe one of the above would go down better.

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/09/2012 - 03:26 pm.

    Economics?

    Actually my impression is that this time around most people seemed to understand the fact that there is no sound economic reason for subsidizing these stadiums. So I don’t think we have to wonder why people still fall for it, they didn’t. The reason this stadium bill passed has nothing to public policy arguments. The reason the Vikings got a stadium is because Wilf is a billionaire, and money talks. Every single lobbyist at the capital was lobbying for a stadium. There were no lobbyist working against it. Sure, people like me wrote stuff, and some people went down and got two minutes to talk to a committee here and there, but the real deals are swung out of sight by people who were all lobbying for the stadium. Millions were spent lobbying for a stadium. I doubt that beyond parking at the meters down at the capital not a single dime was spent lobbying against the stadium. We do not have a government for the people, we have a government that’s for sale.

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