Negotiators for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium scrambled to rework the plan Wednesday after it stalled in a crucial first committee hearing amid bipartisan complaints that the proposal remains deeply flawed.Well, that's what tends to happen when you roll out an incoherent project, Governor. So what to do? Turn Kurt Zellers into Emmanuel Goldstein, that's what:
The setback came days after the nearly $1 billion project's highly anticipated unveiling, leaving DFL Gov. Mark Dayton -- the stadium's biggest State Capitol backer -- blasting Republicans and stadium opponents for doing "hatchet work" on the legislation and not saying what they would support.
The proposal's swift struggles shifted the spotlight to Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers, who now could single-handedly scuttle the legislation if he does not approve a procedural exemption by late Friday. Zellers has said he would not grant the stadium proposal any special legislative favors in the House, where it is sitting with no committee hearing scheduled.
Zellers said he would wait until Friday to decide the stadium's fate.
By not acting, Zellers could slam the door shut on a stadium deal this session, likely renewing speculation that the Vikings owners could push to move the team.
We need a photo opportunity, we need a procedural exemption, or else we'll end up in a cartoon graveyard, apparently. And Dayton doesn't find this stuff amusing:
"It gets to be, really, the theater of the absurd," said Dayton, who appeared visibly frustrated.No, Governor. What's absurd is rolling out a project without a reliable funding mechanism or even the buy-in of others who need to support it to go forward. The electronic pulltabs are not going to be a panacea, which led to a classic "dog ate my homework" moment during the hearing:
Sen. Julie Rosen, the chief Senate stadium proposal sponsor, conceded that negotiators were scrambling to come up with a backup plan in case charitable gambling revenue fell short. The financial uncertainty came amid criticism from charitable gambling organizations that want more tax relief in the legislation, which could further reduce the state's take.
"In the event that not enough people gamble, what is the backup plan?" asked Sen. Pam Wolf, R-Spring Lake Park, who has co-authored a rival proposal to give the Vikings only a state loan for the project.
"We're working on that," said Rosen, R-Fairmont.
She said perhaps a sports memorabilia tax or a special state lottery game for the stadium would "blink on" in case new gambling revenue falls short.
So the revenue fairy and the magic unicorns need to take the field. Meanwhile, R. T. Rybak is having trouble getting the votes he needs on the Minneapolis City Council:
In a sign of the multitude of problems facing the project, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak acknowledged that he also did not yet have a majority of the City Council supporting the project.Yep. And John McCain needed a little more support in 2008, too.
"We have some support," the mayor said. "We need a little more support."
This is getting embarrassing. There's a lot more at the link.