Friday, April 20, 2012

In Minnesota Republicans Blame Democrats for Scuttling Diversion of State Monies to Billionaire Owner of Minnesota Vikings for New Stadium

A Blame Democrats Should be Eager to Accept

As readers of this Forum know, last summer we commented extensively on the failure of Minnesota to resolve a budget crisis and the ultimate shutdown of most of state government. Republicans had refused to consider any tax increases to fund education and other needs, and eventually the Democratic Governor caved and accepted the Republican position.

That experience is germane today because the state is struggling with getting legislative approval to give the Minnesota Vikings, an outfit surely worth north of $1 billion, government money with which to build a new football stadium.  This action is supported by the Governor,

"We've got to get a stadium next year or the Vikings will leave," Dayton said, while at the same time urging stadium supporters to be patient.

showing once again that the Governor can be roiled.  But the stadium deal failed a key legislative committee vote and now appears all but dead.  And in typical fashion Republicans, who control the Minnesota legislature blamed Democrats

"We can't pass the stadium by ourselves in the Republican caucus," said House Speaker Kurt Zellers, who has himself been vague on how much he will do to politically help the stadium. "This is up to the governor and the [House] Democrat minority leader," he said. "If I was the governor, I'd be livid. If I was big labor, I'd be really, really livid."

Also Tuesday, a Republican-controlled Senate panel that had previously considered the stadium plan, but did not vote on it, abruptly canceled a meeting to reconsider the project. Dayton "was only able to bring one [House] DFL vote" for the plan, "that's pretty telling," said Republican Senate spokesman Steve Sviggum, adding that the GOP was " holding off" on any more Senate stadium hearings.

Normally taking on blame is something most politicians avoid like the plague, but in this case it is something Democrats should embrace.  Given that the state has short changed education and other public services in order to prevent tax increases on the very wealthy, Democrats in Minnesota should stand tall and proclaim how their principles prevent them from just giving away hundreds of millions to those same wealthy residents.

Trust us DFL (the name of the Democrats in Minnesota)  this is a winning position. 

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