Angry GOP not inclined to help Dayton’s priority (stadium) after losing its priority (tax bill)

Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, left, and House Speaker Kurt Zellers were not pleased with Governor Dayton's latest veto.

Republican legislative leaders are very angry that Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed their business tax relief bill this morning, and say they don’t think they can work with him anymore. 

They said the tax bill was one of their top session priorities, so they don’t feel compelled to help pass Dayton’s priority — the publicly funded Vikings stadium.

That wouldn’t seem to bode well for the votes coming next week on putting state money into a nearly $1 billion Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

The Republican response came just a few hours later after Dayton vetoed the tax bill, which would have directed much tax relief to businesses but little to homeowners.

Senate Tax Chair Julianne Ortman called the veto “terrible” and said the governor might have “burned his last bridge” with the GOP-led Legislature.

Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem called the veto a slap in the face and said he’s tired of the governor calling Republican leaders “liars.”

Ortman said because Dayton had vetoed the top Republican priority, there there will be consequences. “I don’t know how we can work with him again,” she said.

While this rhetoric indicates a stiffening of Republican leadership against helping get the stadium bill passed, it’s still unclear how the tax veto will affect next week’s stadium votes.

Republican sponsors of the publicly subsidized stadium continued to say earlier today that they believe it will pass. Vikings officials said today they think the vote is close, although they still have to work on some members. Dayton predicted today that it will pass by one vote in both houses. He said that after calling on Republicans to treat taxes and the stadium as two separate issues, which doesn’t seem to be happening.

The Republican leadership this afternoon implied that they won’t help the governor on the stadium unless he’s willing to deal further on the tax bill. And House Speaker Kurt Zellers said he’ll try to keep working on taxes, in hopes of getting the governor to change his mind.

Zellers also took back some things he said yesterday in a radio interview, including that he opposes the stadium but hopes it passes. Today he said he doesn’t support the bill and will vote against it.

He said he misspoke in the contentious radio interview with KFAN’s Dan Barreiro.

Zellers also denied that he told NFL Commissioner that he could put up 34 or 35 Republican votes to pass the stadium bill. Gov. Dayton had said earlier in his tax veto press conference that he’d heard that Zellers made that offer.

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Comments (29)

  1. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/04/2012 - 02:39 pm.


    What would the Republicans say if Governor Dayton pouted and threw a hissy fit because they wouldn’t work with him on higher taxes on the wealthy, one of his priorities when he was elected?

    The Republican Caucus in the Legislature vacillates between obstructionist and clueless. No sane Governor would think he could work with that lot.

  2. Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/04/2012 - 02:57 pm.


    “Republican legislative leaders are very angry that Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed their business tax relief bill this morning, and say they don’t think they can work with him anymore.”

    Good! Maybe they’ll all quit and let in some people who will actually work together to make things better for all the citizens of Minnesota and not just the few who pass a wealth or “moral purity” test.

  3. Submitted by Rich Crose on 05/04/2012 - 03:01 pm.

    Mr. Senjem, Mr. Zellers, Please adjurn.

    Shut down the capital before you do any further damage.

  4. Submitted by Kenneth Kjer on 05/04/2012 - 03:01 pm.

    What a bunch of idiots.

    I have never and I am 69 years old seen such a lousy bunch of legislators in my life. I have been a Republican for over 50 years, but these know nothing idiots have driven me completely out of the Republican party. If I had a two year old who acted like them I would spank them. They are an embarrassment to the State of MN. They make Jesse Venture look like a Rhodes Scholar.

    • Submitted by Pete Barrett on 05/04/2012 - 09:52 pm.

      I Laughed Until I Cried

      Hands down the best and funniest thing I have ever read on MinnPost.

      • Submitted by Maria Jette on 05/05/2012 - 02:34 pm.


        Thank you, Mr. Kjer. You’re confirming my view from the other side, i.e. that the current Republicans’ tactics are weirdly amateurish. Of perhaps caveman-ish.

  5. Submitted by Kenneth Kjer on 05/04/2012 - 03:04 pm.

    Big Question

    With all the lies Zeller has been coming out with, does anybody know how citizens can file charges against him?

  6. Submitted by Bill Coleman on 05/04/2012 - 03:12 pm.

    Slow learners

    The Governor has said for a month that he would not accept the tax bill and its impact on the reserve fund and next year’s budget. I think that the Governor’s backbone only becomes more rigid when the GOP leaders imply that they will leverage the stadium issue to get the tax bill passed.

    The GOP should be able to get more than half of what they want from Dayton. But they always seem to want it all. So they get nothing at all which is what they deserve.

  7. Submitted by Mike Nagell on 05/04/2012 - 03:39 pm.

    Stadium..Hijacked again

    It is too bad that the stadium deal seems to be turning into a game of chicken. Some people forget that the stadium is bigger than the Vikings. For some Minnesotans the Vikings are the only reason to go downtown. Seriously, there are people in Hennepin County who have never been downtown. Why should they care?

    Corporate recruiters are aware of the role major league sports play in attracting tale…nt. The Vikings may only play 10 games a season, but those 10 games showcase Minneapolis and Minnesota to a large national audience that also attracts vacationers and conventions.

    Convention business goes on 365 days a year, but we can never compete for the big gatherings if all we have to offer is an obsolete dome. Corporate and convention site-selection committees look for a lively and vibrant setting. They look for space with state of the art facilities and services.

    With the GOP self-imposed deadline approaching, the GOP proposed an open-air convention center/stadium. Then apparently, after two days, this looney proposal we learn wasn’t serious.

    GOP Leader Zellers said on WCCO radio yesterday that since he didn’t “run his last campaign on the Stadium issue it’s not something that is important to him”. He then went on how “reducing taxes for business owners and removing regulation would create jobs. We can build a stadium when the economy is improved.” I believe construction workers who are now living off the government would start paying taxes and spending real money. When everyone is back to work, that’s when we can’t afford to hire those workers.

    Of course, I believe that government needs to grow and expand when people aren’t working. That puts money in the hands of consumers. That creates jobs. That increases tax revenue. Our bridges and highways get fixed and productivity increases. Cutting taxes on the top earners does nothing for consumer spending. When everyone is working, the government can contract because people are working. (I learned that from some old Depression Republicans.)

    It’s hard to tell what will do the more harm to our region. Will it be our continuing inadequate sports and convention facilities, or will it be the inability of state government to do anything beyond what they can fit on a T Party bumper sticker.

    • Submitted by Greg Rodgers on 05/05/2012 - 08:06 pm.

      Really…attracting vacationers

      Really….you are serious.

      Why don’t we spend the money on attracting 5-6 major corporations here with tax benefits and jumpstart this city?

      A hugely expensive stadium funded through pull tabs……for 10 days of advertising.

      You want to advertise Minneapolis, invest in our unemployment rate, turn this tree hugger state into a financial sound investment…..and you will get notoriety as a state that can build infrastructure for our corporations, education systems, police/fire, etc.

      A stadium….your argument has tons of holes.


  8. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 05/04/2012 - 03:58 pm.

    Hissy fit?

    Almost sounds like a win-win situation for the state. Maybe we can recover while they pout in their rooms.

  9. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 05/04/2012 - 04:10 pm.


    The Repubs were just trying to blackmail the Governor and the state. Their tax bill had no fiscal merit, it was aimed at owners of business property, not business owners. They are ideologues intent on stuffing their ideology down everyone’s throat. There, again was no effort to create jobs. They are liars when they say they are interested in jobs and they are inept legislators. Let’s increase their unemployment this fall. Some of them will be back as they represent the selfish, self centered ideology of their voters, but many will be gone.

  10. Submitted by r batnes on 05/04/2012 - 04:56 pm.

    “they don’t think they can work with him anymore.”

    Do these people really think that they’re going to get the chance? Are they that clueless to think that most of them will actually be re-elected?

  11. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 05/04/2012 - 05:40 pm.

    I’ve Heard Mr. Zellers, et al, Before

    When my sons were in daycare and one of the other kids cried, “Waaah, Waaah, Waaah,” I don’t want to share! All the toys should be mine to play with whenever I want them!

    “IT’S NOT FAIR!” (having to cooperate with others and share, that is).


    …or in a more contemporary example, they’re doing an excellent job of copying the role of “Dudley Dursley” in the first few “Harry Potter” books, except that they don’t seem ever to have grown up as Dudley began later to do.

  12. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 05/04/2012 - 09:55 pm.

    Actions have consequences republicans

    November will be a good time to make sure the republicans get the consequences they deserve. They can go play their way or the highway games somewhere else. I suggest moving to a red state where my way or the highway is a way of life.

  13. Submitted by Hal Sanders on 05/05/2012 - 01:18 am.


    For our trust-fund governor it’s all take and no give.

  14. Submitted by Fredric Markus on 05/05/2012 - 04:57 am.

    The long view

    Forbes Magazine is the latest source of informed skepticism about the long-term economic benefits from trophy projects like the proposed new stadium. There are many other such informed sources, not the least of which is a ten-year longitudinal study of what has happened in municipalities across the country who have gone along with the hard-sell antics of professional sports. The shrill appeals from Ted Mondale, R.T. Rybak, and State Senator Rosen are a last ditch effort to put lipstick on a pig IMHO. The union advocate who trumpets “tens of thousands of jobs” is grossly exaggerating and no doubt the Legislature knows this. There are far more significant challenges facing us that all cost big bucks and can’t be reliably financed by tinkering with gambling expansion that depends on consumers willing and able to spend their dollars thusly. I also think it likely that if the referendum requirement is dismissed out of hand, an expensive and damaging lawsuit may bring that “will of the people” back into play and the whole mess will be on hold while that significant matter is being adjudicated. I also trust that suburban and outstate legislators will understand that if this enterprise tanks, their own state and local gooses will also be cooked. These are enormous sums being proposed for prestige entertainment and the negotiated terms we the public know about are being put forward by rank amateurs with remarkable flimsy “due diligence” underpinnings.

  15. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 05/05/2012 - 09:39 am.

    High Testrosterone Slow Learners

    Republicans still do not understand the mantra which has always been their shortcoming….that being “What goes around, comes around”.
    They think that they can play ‘hard ball’ when they are up, while not realizing that the other team also gets to bat.
    If they would occasionally embrace the word “teamwork”, they would find out that things would go so much smoother.

  16. Submitted by Rebecca Hoover on 05/05/2012 - 09:40 am.

    GOP works hard this session to elect Dems in November

    I can’t think of a better spokesperson for the Democratic party than Republican Senate Tax Chair Julianne Ortman. Every time she appears on the news, the Dems pick up a lot of new votes. Poor Ortman. Try as she might she has merely to open her mouth to make matters worse. A lot of Democrats are going to owe their election to Ortman come November. Rosen is a great friend to the Democrats too. Maybe we can call Ortman and Rosen the Dynamic Deadly Duo (DDD for short).

  17. Submitted by tony akemann on 05/05/2012 - 09:55 am.

    tax bill stsdium

    We need to get the leaders of the republican party out of office. Everything they say and want to do is nothing but bribes. Last I knew bribery was against the law. The stadium will get people back to work. The republicans haven’t come yo with a simple plan for any jobs in this state. All they can come up with is making sure billionaires get more and the middle class pay more.

  18. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 05/05/2012 - 10:37 am.

    a tax break on cabins, too?

    One piece of evidence that the GOP “tax break for business” was not intended to create jobs is that the break was for property, not for businesses.

    For landlords, not for entities that actually hire people. And the tax break extended to owners of–wait for it!–CABINS.

  19. Submitted by Tim Brausen on 05/05/2012 - 11:51 am.

    Pawlenty’s lesson learned well

    Seems the Republicans don’t like the Governor wielding the same veto pen that his predecessor was so proud of using to control the DFL Legislature? What a surprise.

    I think Dayton has gone too far in trying to compromise with the Republican leadership on many other issues. Thankfully he’s standing firm (so far) on the tax bill. I pray that he doesn’t trade it off for the bonding bill. If the Republicans want to give us such a puny bonding bill, let them feel the rather of the voters and the Chambers of Commerce when SW LRT isn’t funded for a mere $25 while they spend $200 million to fix up their Capitol.

  20. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 05/05/2012 - 01:16 pm.


    It comes down to a question of scale. We make such a big deal of the stadium, when it is really a very minor issue. Quite simply, the Republicans were asking for something that matters in exchange for something, despite all the attention it receives, that doesn’t matter much at all.

  21. Submitted by Greg Rodgers on 05/05/2012 - 08:00 pm.

    How do we best fight…to be clear to kill it?

    We have a stadium…..with a new roof. Remember….we haven’t paid off the loan taken for the roof yet.

    I have lived in 3 cities that were in the process, while I lived there, in pushing stadiums under the premise that it would bring revenue, jobs, reputation, etc. to the city. If you do the math, even considering alternative financing more stable that the ridiculous pull tab idea, stadiums typically leave cities with huge reoccurring debt streams for 15+ years and a future team bitching to have another nicer stadium built before the first one is paid off.

    With the country in recession, the city struggling to come up with a plan to tackle an excessive deficit, many unemployed using a heightened level of services intended for the truly needy….do we really need to spend this money on a stadium for a minimal number of home games each year? And….it is a really bad team….really bad. We can get a better one back in less than 5 years with an owner that we can get behind.

    Really…the ROI per game is ridiculous. Plus, when did all of these fair weather fans in Minnesota get so much focus and intentionality. If they would re-direct their focus on supporting the team (good seasons and bad) and leaving this stadium thing behind….you might be able to help their confidence and performance on the field.

    Really….if someone can give me the most successful channel for squashing this investment I will focus my energy with anyone willing to fight.

  22. Submitted by ken sipe on 05/06/2012 - 11:35 am.

    republican mind meld

    gamesmanship is one thing but continuous black mail and threats are another. wait till fall when we citizens ” issue our mandate” on these hold the line republicans and send them home and give them their pink slip. i did not vote for dayton but am amazed at his professionalism and bipartison vision. if you look at the tax bill you will find their agenda does not meet their rhetoric. mark d would pass a tax bill if it represented what would be good for all of minnesota and not just grover based agenda. i applaud mark dayton i applaud republican congressman that vote beyond their party line and risk retribution from their stallonesk peers. first and foremost due whats right for minnesota as a whole and stop kicking sand and pouting when you don’t get your social engineering far right-wing way. we will serve you our new mandate in the fall

  23. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/07/2012 - 07:29 am.


    A political term meaning when the republicans agree to go along with what the democrats want.

    Most democrats hope the stadium bill dies because they think it helps rich people, whom they hate, and/or they despise professional sports because it represents competition for money, which mirrors the capitalist model. Only the unions and their bought-and-paid-for politicians want it because it puts money in their pockets.

    I hope the stadium goes down to defeat because a republican principle says that government should not be subsidizing a private enterprise.

    There, you have your “bipartisanship.”

  24. Submitted by Tony George on 05/07/2012 - 08:03 am.

    Never Vote for Americans for Prosperity

    One thing that every Minnesotan should have learned by now is to NEVER, NEVER vote for any candidate financed by Americans for Prosperity, ALEC, or any other Koch Brothers front group.

  25. Submitted by craig furguson on 05/07/2012 - 10:17 am.

    Dayton’s got nothing to lose

    The GOP will be blamed for botching the stadium if they can’t get this through the legislature. And Dayton’s got two more years.

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