One change, which has Dayton's support, would require Internet retailers such as Amazon to collect state taxes when Minnesota customers buy online. Minnesotans are already supposed to pay state taxes for such purchases, but only a tiny fraction do.
The change would bring in just $3.5 million a year, but is a top priority for local retailers such as Target and Best Buy, who argue that existing laws give an unfair advantage to online retailers.
Call it a political payoff to Target executive John Griffith for services rendered.
There's more, of course -- with this story there's always more:
"The Vikings didn't get everything they wanted," Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, the chief Senate stadium author, said before the final vote.I would expect the conference committee to find a number between $452 and $532 million, probably right around $500 million. But there's more still:
The team agreed.
Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said after the vote that the team remains committed to paying $427 million toward a roofed stadium at the Metrodome site. He had said that spending $532 million, as the House wants, is unworkable and did not publicly warm to the Senate's call for $452 million from the team.
But Rosen said she believed the team would have to spend at least the extra $25 million the Senate proposed. "Oh, yes. I do. Yeah," Rosen said.
But the Senate, in a close vote, reversed itself and instead settled for a less stringent set of user fees that, while still opposed by the team, would augment the state's desire to use electronic bingo and pull tabs in Minnesota's bars and restaurants to pay the state's stadium share.
The user fees ultimately adopted include a 10 percent fee on the sale or rental of stadium suites, a 10 percent fee on parking within a half mile of the stadium during NFL events and a 6.875 percent fee on team jerseys and other league-licensed products sold at the stadium.
They backed off the initial proposal, which was essentially 10% on everything -- tickets, concessions, merchandise, stadium signage and the Vikings share of National Football League revenue sharing. That would have paid for a lot more of this monstrosity, but the Vikings would have rejected it.
Now comes the fun part -- the conference committee that will iron out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. Kurt Zellers and David Senjem can pick anyone they'd like to be on the conference committee. Because I believe in the spirit of bipartisanship, I'd strongly recommend Sens. John Marty and Dave Thompson be part of the Senate team. And since it's important that the voice of a Minneapolis representative be heard, Zellers really ought to appoint Frank Hornstein, the authentic voice of Linden Hills.
And while I'm ordinarily loath to do it, I have to give our own State Senator, Barb Goodwin, a heartfelt thank you for pointing out something that needed to be said:
"They're great businessmen," Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, said of Vikings ownership, led by Zygi Wilf. "They certainly promised a lot of things here -- except the money."Get used to it, Senator.
UPDATE: I take the kind words back on Sen. Goodwin, who voted for the stadium anyway. Should have known better.