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Mr. Dilettante: Dayton, Wilf don’t instill confidence in Vikings fans

Mark Dayton and Zygi Wilf were meeting yesterday. I can only imagine the epic amount of stammering going on:

The governor convened the meeting of Ramsey County officials, team owners Mark and Zygi Wilf, legislative sponsors of a stadium bill and Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chair Ted Mondale. After two hours, all emerged from the closed-door meeting preaching optimism, but looking borderline grim.

The hang up continues to be road funding:

The Vikings and Ramsey County offered a plan Monday that would seek state and local grants to cover half the cost. The rest would come in the form of a cash advance either from a Ramsey County bond issue or an interest-free state loan. The bonds or the loan would be paid back through fees and surcharges at the new stadium.

Dayton, however, said state grants for roads would count against the $300 million limit. The governor also said he would prefer something more direct than the “piecemeal financing” road proposal. He insisted that no state general fund money would go to the stadium, but other than that, “I don’t rule anything out. … If we can get a federal grant, great.”

A few thoughts. First, Dayton hates to “piecemeal” anything. That’s been his excuse for holding the state hostage with the government shutdown and why he vetoed virtually every budget bill that the Legislature passed. So it’s hardly surprising that he’s taken this stance on the witches’ brew of funding that the Vikings and their eager rubes partners from Ramsey County have offered.

Second, why would anyone expect a federal grant of anything to help build a football stadium? Dayton seems to be pulling that notion out of the air, or someplace else that we’d rather not contemplate.

Third — given the amount of fees and surcharges that are contemplated to build this thing, you have to wonder how anyone is going to be able to afford to go to a Vikings game. The face value for the ticket of the last NFL game I attended was $83. One could easily imagine the cost of a ducat at the new place, with all the surcharges included, to be somewhere north of $150. Now add in the $40 parking and you’re talking about a pretty expensive afternoon. Perhaps there’s a market for this, but I’m wondering where it is.

The Star Tribune article mentions a supposed legislative deadline of Friday. That’s probably negotiable, but the hour is drawing late. The question remains: how valuable are the Vikings to Minnesota?

This post was written by Mark Huering and originally published on Mr. Dilettante’s Neighborhood.

Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Alan Davis on 06/15/2011 - 08:04 am.

    No, the question is: Why can’t the Vikings pay their own way? As for your phrase “the amount of stammering,” we all know that Dayton has battled through a speech difficulty to become Governor. Your off-color comment about his disability is pathetic. As for Vikings tickets, let those who want them pay for the stadium via sky-high ticket prices. A surtax on ticket prices is fair and just. Why should taxpayers give a for-profit football team money?

  2. Submitted by Mark Heuring on 06/15/2011 - 12:18 pm.

    Thank you for your comments, Mr. Davis.

    1) Why can’t the Vikings pay their own way? Well, they can. But they don’t have to. So they won’t.

    2) Somehow I suspect the governor won’t be especially concerned about some penny-ante blogger giving him a shot about his speech patterns. The shot was meant more for Zygmunt Wilf anyway.

    3) Why should taxpayers give a for-profit football team money? They shouldn’t. But some taxpayers will, somewhere. To paraphrase the former governor of Illinois, who has perfect diction, an NFL franchise is a #@&! valuable thing. That’s why I ask the question, what are the Vikings worth to Minnesota?

  3. Submitted by will lynott on 06/15/2011 - 01:46 pm.

    Mark, I concur, your “stammering” comment was tasteless. So, the gov of Illinois has “perfect diction?” What is it, you can’t help yourself?

    So was your snide comment on the Governor’s preference not to piecemeal a solution being “his excuse for holding the state hostage with the government shutdown…” Not piecemealing sounds like sound policy making to me. The people of Minnesota back his budget approach 2-1, so they agree with HIM.

    In reality, its the majority in the legislature that holding the state hostage, if anyone is. The Governor has moved closer to their position twice. They have refused to budge.

    Between 70 and 80% of Minnesotans also believe the Vikings should get NO public money. That should tell you all you need to know about how valuable they are to the state. And don’t even start about how much money they bring in–you know better. I think.

    You’re right about one thing–you definitely are a penny ante (and spiteful) blogger. When the Vikings board the bus to LA, please join them.

  4. Submitted by B Maginnis on 06/15/2011 - 04:53 pm.

    Gosh, there’s sure some sensitive lefties here.

  5. Submitted by Mark Heuring on 06/15/2011 - 06:08 pm.

    Thanks for the kind words, Will. Appreciate the support. I also appreciate the suggestion to leave town, which was a nice touch. Now that we’ve gotten the niceties out of the way, let’s get to the actual point of the post.

    You don’t provide cites for your statistics, but I’ll stipulate that they are true for the sake of argument. So do you believe that the statistics you cite are true and that 70-80% of Minnesotans would be okay with the Vikings pulling up stakes? Because that’s the real question here.

    Look, most everyone who is polled is going to say the same thing — no public money for millionaires, we shouldn’t subsidize them, etc. But when it comes right down to it, are they willing to let them go?

    Perhaps you are personally. If so, congratulations on having the courage of your convictions. What I’m arguing is that most people are actually a lot more wishy-washy about this matter. It’s tough to be steadfast.

  6. Submitted by will lynott on 06/16/2011 - 08:55 am.

    Ehhhh, I think polling in the 70-80% range is pretty indicative of the public’s mood on this. And I agree with them. About the same percentage backs voter ID, a position I vigorously disagree with, but I see no reason to doubt that, if nothing changes, that constitutional amendment will pass.

    But don’t stop there. There are laws on the books that prohibit public expenditures for stadiums over $10 million without a referendum (Mpls) and a similar referendum requirement in Ramsey County. Their mere existence is telling. Moreover, the Viking movers and shakers have stated that they want an exception created for them because if it goes to the public it will lose. They are, of course, right.

    These are also troubled economic times, with people out of work and losing their homes. The public wants and needs relief, and my soundings indicate that they are, at the very least, impatient with the idea that we should be again gifting one of the richest industries in the country while many are choosing between prescriptions and eating regularly.

    Taken together, this paints a picture of the public’s will on the matter that is anything but wishy-washy. Yes, I do think the state as a whole is fully prepared to see them go if the alternative is yet another handout to a billionaire.

    As for the “niceties” you allude to, get used to it if your posts will continue to ridicule peoples’ personal issues that they struggle with and sometimes overcome, and that have no bearing on the public issue at hand. You could easily have made your points without doing that.

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