As usual, the critics were right:
Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday did not rule out tapping the state's Legacy funds to help pay for a Vikings stadium, raising protests about whether an NFL team should qualify as a piece of the state's cultural heritage.
"All options, as far as I am concerned, should be considered," said Dayton, who was unclear how seriously he was considering tapping the fund for the $1.1 billion stadium.
Since Minnesotans passed the Legacy constitutional amendment three years ago, a state sales tax increase has been bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars for projects involving the outdoors, clean water, parks and trails, and arts and cultural heritage. The governor's comments were enough to prompt one of the fund's largest recipients, the Minnesota Historical Society, to urge people to object to legislators and Dayton.
Not surprisingly, the Historical Society is not happy that it might have to share the lucre:
Using the money for a stadium is "contrary to both the intent of the voters and the language of the constitutional amendment," the society said, adding that the stadium debate "is moving quickly, so please take action as soon as you are able."
That hardly seems charitable. The Historical Society needs to get with the program. I'm thinking we could just do a little repurposing and have the Vikings play at the Minnesota History Center. They have some parking for Zygi Wilf and it's a big building with high ceilings. All you'd have to do is wipe out a little exhibit space, lay down some field turf over the marble and we'd be ready to turn Christian Ponder loose. Win-win!
Seriously, we are supposed to be outrageously outraged about this horrible misuse of sacred funding mechanisms. Why? You give a government a constitutionally mandated pot of money with only the gauziest guidelines for how it should be spent and you are surprised that they might use the haul to subsidize a New Jersey real estate developer? That's a part of our cultural heritage we can all celebrate -- the earnest heartland rube giving over hard-earned money to a sharpie from back East.
It's important if we go down this road that we drive a hard bargain, though. Maybe if we kick in a few extra greenbacks, we'll get title to the Brooklyn Bridge. We can then move it to Stillwater and solve that problem, too.