Sen. David Senjem May Be Worth $4.6 Million to Canterbury Park

How so? Based on the spike in Canterbury Park’s stock price (Ticker: CPHC) in the day following Senjem’s promotion to MN Senate Majority leader, it looks like Senjem is a $4.6 million man. Or, a man with a plan with odds of being fulfilled that have been priced at $4.6 million by the market:

CPHC Stock Price pre-post Senjem at Senate Majority Leader

Post market close on December is when the news of Senjem’s new leadership position was announced.

Why is Senjem worth so much to Canterbury? He’s the MN Senate’s #1 supporter of Racino.

Is this good or bad? If your name is on the following list, this is very good because you own more than 100,000 shares of CPHC:

Sampson (Curtis A)
GAMCO Investors, Inc.
Schenian (Dale H)
Sampson (Randall D)
Morgan (John L)
EQ/GAMCO Small Company Value Portfolio
GAMCO Investors, Inc.
Dimensional Fund Advisors, LP

In fact, Curtis Sampson saw his shares increase in value by nearly $1 million on December 28th.

But, if you’re someone who’d like to see Minnesota invest in people and companies that create products and services sold to people and companies outside the State of Minnesota – thus bringing new money into the state – rather than increasing exploitation of ourselves through increased gambling, this may not be the best news in the world.

39 thoughts on “Sen. David Senjem May Be Worth $4.6 Million to Canterbury Park”

  1. There is a significant flaw in the logic here. Racinos (or Casinos) would be bringing money into the state because the existing casinos don’t pay taxes. Currently, the money Minnesotans spend at existing casinos could be going anywhere and we’re never going to know about it because they exist on sovreign nations. In essence, the money Minnesotans spend at casinos is going out of the state. Building racinos (or any other casino in the state that is taxed) is going to bring more money into the state. That’s a fact.

  2. @Mike, that’s an interesting point. Although, it seems like, in either case, it’s not bringing money into the state. It’s moving money around within the state, not creating an exportable product or service, or much of a tourism draw.

    If you’re going to claim that money spent at Indian casinos leaves the state, perhaps you should cite a source to back up that claim? While the money may not have been taxed in the gambling transaction, it seems like a decent portion of the money earned at casinos would end up being spent in the state. Additionally, the MIGA website reports that employees of their casinos paid a combined $18 million in state income taxes in 2007.

    So, while you may be right that a racino would bring in more money to the state than a nearby casino on an Indian reservation, it’s not entirely clear to me how much more money it would generate. Hook me up with some links.

  3. Let’s try to explain this with a different approach. The existing casinos mostly represented by MIGA do not pay income tax to the state of MN. Employees of casinos do pay state income taxes. The GOP has wanted to change the law and force the casinos to pay tax.

    Let’s assume thar Racino is used to fund bond service for a Stadium and that Racino only gets it’s clients from the existing casinos. There are no new gamblers–they just bet money at a different location with Minnesota. Who loses?? Who wins?

    The existing casinos lose a lot and they are very concerned and will fight new gambling. The winners are Racino sponsors and The Vikings and fans and associated businesses who make money from a Stadium operation.

    If you were running the existing casinos you might well agree with a law change that forces the payment of income tax–and the State could use those revenues to fund the stadium. New gambling competition for the casinos would not be possible.

    Or, if the MIGA group keeps fighting new competition and does not want to pay tax—which is the road they are currently following, then there is a very strong possibility Racino will be approved with the help of Dayton and Senjem. The MIGA group might have been better off just paying taxes. In these examples all of the money stays in state–it is just reallocated among the parties.

  4. @Rick, based on your assumptions (Racino revenue coming solely from pillaging Indian casino revenues) how much additional revenue would the state receive? With that shift, I wouldn’t expect any change in income taxes, so the only new revenue – as I see it – would be from corporate taxes.

    Another thing: It seems like Indian casinos have local ownership (Minnesota tribes). Would a Racino be locally owned? Publicly traded?

  5. Regarding not creating an exportable product, I completely disagree, specifically in the case of Racinos. These facilities have always been about creating a stronger racing industry and a better quality horse. Look at what is currently happening in New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana and other states with similar facilities, these facilities are increasing the horse breeding industry in their respective states and that means a great deal as far as attracting new business and employment within their state.

    Pennsylvania’s Ag Secretary recently reported that Racinos have been responsible for more than 44,000 jobs. Granted, Minnesota is never going to be Pennsylvania as far as racing is concerned, this legislation will most definitely help create an exportable product and jobs.

    http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=18&objID=1096112&mode=2

    Additionally, The presense of a Racino in New York is luring some important Kentucky horses and breeding operations to New York.

    http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20120102/SPORTS08/301020042/Kentucky-horse-racing-breeding

    Therefore, I definitely believe that Racinos will create an exportable product. Better facilities will create a larger industry, will bring more horses, new businesses and more jobs into the state.

    You bring up an interesting point regarding understanding where the existing casino money goes. No one really knows because of the fact these facilities reside in sovreign nations. Therefore, yes, I may have overstated the fact that the money is definitely leaving the state, but it’s impossible for anyone to say that it isn’t either and there is certainly no viable way to quantify it.

    Don’t get me wrong, the existing casinos have done a great deal of good for Native Americans and in no way should this be construed as commentary that advocates changing the existing agreement between the state and the Native Americans.

    However, there is absolutely no transparency to these operations. Revenues, expenditures, political contributions, and many other facts are not easily accessible to those of us in the outside world. If the same thing happened with another business enterprise in the state, people would be irrate. It’s exactly the same types of behavior that have driven people to protest other large businesses.

    Therefore, I also believe that increased transparency is a perk of any new casino operation in the state. Citizens that choose to spend their hard-earned money in these facilities would know how this money would be spent. As you’ve already pointed out with the demonstration above, if the state decided that Canterbury Park was a place they would like to expand gambling, everyone would be able to see exactly what was going on within the company because it is publicly-traded.

    As to the $18 million paid in state income taxes. This fact is simply playing off the fact that people don’t understand the gaming operations of other states and the size of the existing industry in Minnesota. $18 million is certainly a substantial amount of money but considering the gaming industry is estimated to bring in $1.5 Billion in revenue per year (http://www.startribune.com/local/121293784.html), it’s really a drop in the hat. Many states pay taxes on their gaming revenue between 25-35% and that is before payroll taxes (the 25-35% figure is similar to what has been proposed by groups supporting both Casino and Racino operatorations in Minnesota). If Minnesota’s existing casino industry was taxed at a 30% level, that would equate to $450 million in tax revenue per year. That’s a pretty substantial differencee from the $18 million.

  6. @Mike, it sounds like, if we subsidize the horse breeding industry by exploiting gamblers, we can then export horses.

    Wasn’t the Card Club at Canterbury supposed to solve issues like this?

    It seems like political contributions are pretty easy to track. Well, as easy as any other political contributions. As I see it, the tribes has traditionally given to the DFL in an effort to maintain the status quo. Now that the GOP is controlling both the Senate and House, I would expect a shift in at least some of that money to the right for the same reason. And, there is also money going to CAGE for the same purpose.

    While the Indian casinos aren’t publicly traded, it seems like quite a bit of information is available about how they spend their money. MIGA makes it pretty clear that a huge chunk of what comes in goes back out into the state.

  7. Card Clubs may have done the trick if Pennsylvania, New York, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Maine, Indiana, Florida, Ohio and Maryland hadn’t added Racinos between the time the Card Casino was passed and now. The playing field is completely different now than it was 10 years ago when Card Club legislation was passed.

    Quite simply, the National competition is completely different for racing now than it was even ten years ago. Maybe the state decides it doesn’t want to play that game… that is the legislature’s decision to make and I suppose we’ll see how it plays out in the near future.

    Regarding the MIGA information, would you prefer to have audited statements or PR materials? The regulatory environments between existing casinos and Minnesota other gaming entities (racetracks, lottery, pull-tabs, etc) are completely different. It’s obvious that MIGA does do a great deal of good – they have $1.5 billion in revenues and I think most people would do similar things if they were in that position. However, they should be required to be as transparent, and subject to the same regulatory environment, as other gaming entities in the state.

  8. @Ed. Let’s assume Racino is run by a non profit. Odds are set that the house wins 50% and pays out expense on 20%. The leftover operating profit is dedicated to fund debt service for bonds needed to finance stadium construction. The remainder of cash flow would be sent to MN education helping to replace the funds lost in last session legislative trickery. The non profit pays no state income tax. The state is helped because of the new source to fund schools. Shareholders of Canterbury are better off because of more people at or nearby the track to bet on horses.

    @ Mike. If the state benefits with better quality horseracing, the marginal benefit is really just the new gamblers that come from out of state. Otherwise, I think that the amount of money gambled doesn’t really change. The only thing that changes is more is spent for infrastructure at Canterbury and less is spent by Indian casinos on personnel due to lost gamblers. It’s merely a game of reallocation of expense necessary to support a revenue stream. I do think that money spent at Canterbury might be recycled within the state far better than if, for example, a consumer spent a $500 tax refund at the track instead of buying a new TV at Best Buy where much of the money would be sent to the TV manufacturer in China. You claim that Indians casino might be shipping profits out of state—but I see absolutely no evidence this assumption is true.

  9. @Ed. Good luck if you think political contributions are “easy to track”. That only applies to “direct” contributions. “indirect” means of feeding politicians without tracing the real source is alive and well in 2012.

    You might be interested in reading a Nick Coleman post in May about an embarrassing consulting deal Tony Sutton had with MIGA and how Coleman believes that CAGE is just a shakedown to prevent new gambling initiatives. http://www.nickcolemanmn.com/?p=2048

    Recall also how Abramoff lobbied Indian tribes to keep out competition. It turns out that Emmer’s Lt Gov partner , Annette Meeks is married to Jack Meeks who runs CAGE and accepts money from MIGA to lobby against new gambling.

    You also may be aware that a top GOP official, Pat Anderson, signed up Racino as a lobbying client shortly after being elected to become the National GOP committee representative. She basically completely bucked the GOP ” official platform” against gambling. The now- ousted Mr Brodkorb blasted Anderson at the time for taking a pro-gambling gig. Who knows what roles all these political folks played at one time or another in the process.

    Now Koch is out and so are Brodkorb and Sutton. Looks to me like we will have a stadium in Arden Hills financed by Racino. It won’t cost taxpayers a dime. It is a fascinated process to watch and it sure appears to me that there are dozens of paid propagandists misleading folks every day based on specific client interests they are representing.

    This stuff is very political and money is everywhere and huge amounts are involved.

  10. @Rick, saying money is hard to track, then itemizing where it’s going seems a title inconsistent. While the general public probably doesn’t understand how either party is funded from gambling today, political reporters are certainly aware of groups like CAGE and their protection racket.

  11. @Ed. You may have missed my point. You stated that ” it seems political contributions are pretty easy to track”. I agree with that as far as direct contributions go and also for direct lobbying of the legislature. But it then gets muddy when the line is crossed and private interests do pay for ads that technically are “lobbying the public” but, in effect, are not too much different than an ad which might be bought by a committee which aims at electing GOP or Dem legislators. It would be hard to argue that such money does not work the same as contributions. Political office holders can be helped in many ways and there is no bullet-proof and honest way to track it all.

    As far as the topic we are discussing, gambling and stadiums, we already know that there are big financial interests involved here to influence the political process. The involvement of Sutton, Meeks, and Anderson is not happening in a vacuum. Perhaps you as a blog leader can assist readers in connecting the dots.

  12. What do you make of todays front page Strib story casting doubt on the viability of Arden Hills???

    The sources are hard to identify except for Horner and is very unclear if Horner has any role it. Does anybody really believe that Minneapolis has it’s act together and can come up with a complete Stadium package with financing that is acceptable to Rybeck and the Vikes? I see no evidence of it.

    In my view, this story was a planted deal to make it look like a fair and balanced selection process is happening although there seems to be little solid indication the Vikes have warmed to Minneapolis sites.

    The authors said zip about gambling and seemed to rely on just a few sources and almost zero naysayers. Also interesting to note that StarTrib was considering selling land near the Dome to the Vikings. I sure hope that possibility did not slant the writers judgement!!

  13. @Rick, looking back on the Senate hearing regarding stadium sites, it seemed clear to me that senators were more interested in Minneapolis than Arden Hills sites. It was out of that hearing that Senators asked the Vikings to sit down with the City of Minneapolis to discuss the three options Rybak brought to that hearing. In fact, I got the impression that the senators were frustrated with Rybak because he wasn’t able to make a stronger case for getting Arden Hills off the table then.

    I don’t think senators will support a project that doesn’t leverage the billions of dollars that have been spent on existing transportation infrastructure, including transit. It makes much more sense, and also happens to be cheaper. Coming up with as much as $200 million more to build a 21,000 car parking lot in Arden Hills for 10 uses a year is not a justifiable public investment.

    State funding is a somewhat separate issue from location. Regardless on where they put they stadium, the state may be planning on putting something like $300 million into the project. Were the Dome site to be reused, the state contribution could be as low as $100 million, based on what Rybak thinks he can come up with (although, it will be interesting to see if he really can). If the state’s contribution is $100 million, I highly doubt something like Racino would be considered. Gambling still may be on the table, but not creating a new form of state gambling.

  14. I spent an hour yesterday reviewing ballparkmagic.com’s comments, and the only thing that impressed me was how accurately the url is…that the commentors there are fanboys living in a world where stadiums are created by magic, and there only concern is ‘building it right’ which to their minds means perfect for their fanboy experience. Noticeably absent was any mention of how they would contribute financially to building their fanboy heaven.

    It may be that State funding is somewhat separate from location, but City/County funding is 100% dependent on location–the reason Mpls is the only real option is that there is no other city or county in the state that has enough population and tourism draw (and existing public infrastructure) to ‘afford’ stadium consideration. That is what the legislature was responding to and why an Arden Hills Zygiworld would have doomed Ramsey County into tax hell and had to be taken out of consideration for PUBLIC funding. (NOTE: that even billionnaire real estate Zygi obviously made no headway in PRIVATELY funding his own dreamworld.)

    So now it is up to Mpls, and I guess by the 12th to come up with the new and more efficient Zygiworld proposal…good luck.

    Sadly, none of all this public funding for Zygiworld’s entertainment complex that is only open a dozen days each year (even Disneyworld would have failed with that business proposal, eh?) is considering where our state funding should be focused–
    –on sustainable infrastructure
    –on sustainable health care
    –on green energy issues
    –on agriculture issues
    –on education issues to provide the next generation a chance.

    Instead, we are focusing HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of public dollars at a football team…circuses instead of bread. Such leadership explains why America and the world is in the toilet–it’s not gays or unions, it’s things like supporting sports and allowing bad bankers to receive our money.

    I urge you to watch this video from a local economics guy who had a better perspective before you decide where PUBLIC funding should be directed–
    http://real-economics.blogspot.com/2012/01/did-economics-once-work-better.html

  15. @ Ed   You may be right about the fact that a deal could be struck in Minneapolis for a lower cost, BUT, there is no evidence YET to prove the Vikings will support it AND if Rybak can get it together.  This is a wishing well.  From what I can tell, the Vikes have been asked to look at all other options and they are complying.  The political folks would complain forever if the Vikes did not do that.  There still isn’t a serious plan on the table that the Vikes are favoring other than Arden Hills.  TIME is another factor here.  If they had another 5 years to debate the issues and ferret out the best deal for everyone, maybe Minneapolis would prevail, but I doubt the Vikes and NFL will wait that long to get this resolved.   It is worth noting that Kare11 Scott Siroka ran a story in the last 24 hours where they were able to quote Ramsey County commissioner Bennett who refuted the “undisclosed” sources in the Strib article. And Channel 5 Jay Kolls brought out further info on Racino and a shift in Senate power that favors this solution.  Where the hell was the Strib on missing these two important issues?
     
    @The Other Mike   You are very right in concluding that the Stadium “should” be a much lower priority for public funds among many much more worthy needs.    The GOP controls both the senate and house and it has the power to do this as long as Dayton is supportive. You might note that there are very few legislators these days preaching visibly against the Stadium.  They don’t want to use public funds, but they won’t get in front of a speeding train…..in my humble opinion.  

  16. @Rick, as long as the Vikings are demanding far more in public subsidies than the team earns the state in revenues, there is no rush. If that stalemate continues, politicians would be protecting the public’s interest by not meeting Wilf’s corporate welfare demands. It doesn’t matter what the public funding source is if the return doesn’t make sense.

    Also, if season ticket holders aren’t willing to put their own money into making a deal happen, is it really that big of a deal if the team leaves? It goes to show that this is more of a nice to have than an actually want or need to Minnesotans.

    Here is an example of how to fund a stadium with no need for a Racino or even public money:
    http://www.thedeets.com/2011/12/29/how-to-finance-a-new-vikings-stadium-with-no-wilfare/

    We seem to be getting closer to that as Arden Hills falls off the table.

  17. @Ed. What have you been smoking? Personal seat licenses. Give us a break!!!

    Where in the world do you get your conviction that Arden Hills cannot be worked in to a satisfactory solution.

    You also may be completely missing the point how these deals are financed. Stadiums are built with bond issuance. Bonds are serviced with cash flow. The amount of cash flow here to service the debt depends only on the will of the legislature to take it away from existing casinos. Why do you think MIGA hired Sutton (and apparently Shaheen too.)?? You apparently haven’t widened your horizons beyond the direct public subsidy concept. With Gambling in play the numbers are completely different.

    And exactly WHO is saying on the record where the Stadium will built??? It is hard to find a legislator these days who claims the site will be in Minneapolis. Only Horner is speaking on the record and who knows what role he has in this???

  18. @Rick…Overall, it seems to me that Zygi, the NFL, and all the politicians have done their part, to set the timetable for public discussion and action, and to be as honest as possible with their intentions and desires. I have no complaint with the role they are filling in this public debate–they have all done their jobs.

    However, the one stadium constituency that has me baffled are Viking fans, they have been all talk and no action…action not meaning painting themselves purple and standing outside blaring a stupid horn (any idiot can do that), but action meaning pulling out their wallets and showing their financial support of their team.

    Ed is right, where is the Personal Seat License fan movement? Where is the goofy but very effective Packer-like Stock Certificate movement? Where is anything other than whining about how they deserve a tailgate experience?

    Everyone understands that most past stadiums were built with bond issues, but guess what happened to the world since 2007…economic times have changed.

    Well, instead of sitting around on blogs commenting, I’m guessing Viking fans have until the 12th to step forward with your wallets open and not your facepaint…that is if you really want a Viking stadium to meet your ballpackmagic ‘needs’, otherwise your Monday morning stadium whining will have zero cred.

  19. @other Mike. You are not talking to a Vikes fan. As for myself, I haven’t been to a Vikes game in years. When I did go–someone else always paid for the tickets. I watch less than half of Vikes games on TV. My Sunday’s would not be affected if the Vikes moved to LA.

    But I sure know how loyal Minnesotans have been to the team even in 2011 when the product was lousy. This isn’t going to depend on those visible vocal vikes fans. In my view, it is the silent majority that doesn’t want to relocate that counts much more–in my view.

    The concept of local ownership such as Green Bay will never be repeated because the NFL owners will not allow it. NFL revenues are heavy in TV contracts, which dwarf ticket sales.

    Green Bay is not a big revenue generator for TV because of it’s relatively small market size. The NFL does not want to be locked into small markets. Individual franchise owners want ticket sales but the league really wants bigger TV deals.

    On the other hand, the TwinCities is said to be a good TV market for the NFL and that will help keep the team here even if LA threatens to steal it. I suspect that the NFL sees the TwinCities as a much better revenue producer than Jacksonville or NewOrleans, for example. It probably would take a number of negotiation failures before the NFL would allow relocation

  20. @Rick, Personal Seat Licenses are in play. As of now, Wilf has that revenue built into his underwhelming personal contribution to the team, as well as stadium naming rights and a loan from the NFL.

    Help me understand why a want – but definitely NOT a need – like subsidizing an NFL franchise justifies exploiting gamblers.

  21. @Rick, I think you’re right about the TV market side of things. In fact, it may help the NFL to not have a local team in Los Angeles, since they can show whatever game or games are the biggest draw at any given time rather than the local team. Put another way, LA may be a bigger NFL TV market without a local team.

    There certainly are teams in much worse shape than MN when it comes to filling seats or getting people to tune in for the games. Moving the Vikings seems like a good way to turn off MN to football.

    Which means, to me, that the NFL should start funding stadiums rather than demanding the public pay. That won’t happen with ex-Goldman Sachs scumbags running the NFL, but it reminds me that it’s not the public’s responsibility to subsidize the league’s franchises.

  22. @Rick…glad your weren’t punished to be a Vikings fan this year, but my comment is the same regardless.

    I used to be a BIG sports fan, but when life got more serious, I had to grow up and save my time and money for necessities, and sports is a luxury, it is mere distraction, entertainment.

    The missing link in this many months long stadium debate is the financial voice of the Viking fan/supporter.

    And until some fan group steps up with even a flimsy financing plan involving real money,
    (1) why should any legislator support the Vikes in a stagnant-economy, cash-strapped, austerity-moving state that just shut down to prove how serious they are after 30 years of GOP no-new-taxes pay the freight of this entertainment-based non-income sharing private entity? And,
    (2) shouldn’t the NFL be asking if this is the year they passed peak and that it is no more than TV event going forward?

    The NFL, the Vikings, the fans themselves…have more questions to ask themselves now than even the legislators (who actually can step back legitimately and say the public support is missing for a $650 million dollar 40 year loan for a private business with next to zero loyalty to its own fans).

    Are fans returning that next-to-zero NFL loyalty by resisting any pledge for a personal seat license or creating a ‘stock certificate’ movement to show true support?

    Are private businesses maxed out?…where are their pledges of financial support? Are the Viking fans maxed out?…if so, it seems so too are taxpayers.

    That’s all I’m wondering…all that talk about fan’s tailgating is cute and easy, but where’s some greenbacks to show they are serious? If they can’t step up, why should the city, county, or state taxpayers?

  23. @Ed. Where do you get such conviction that personal seat licenses are a necessary part of the stadium financing?? Who is reporting that?? Did I miss something?

    I suspect the Vikes will do a number of things to maximize revenues once the deal is approved. The big money is in the charging for enclosed suites. As I understand, the current Metrodome lease was structured to allow for a lifetime income source for former GM Mike Lynn. You can be sure that Wilf’s are angry about that clause and, in fact, it is part of the reason that the Dome economics didn’t work well for either the Twins or Vikes. In any event the Wilf’s are looking for a better deal for themselves and if the team can produce a winning record they could do some seat licenses, but I see zero evidence that the financing is tied to seat licensing. Maybe we will know more by the end of the week.

    @ Other Mike. Would you give me an example of any GOP legislator would is loudly opposing the Stadium. Where are they?? Some might not like public funding and others may not like gambling sources—but none seem to be standing on a soapbox or willing to get in front of the train. The only opposition seems to be coming from John Marty, a democrat.

    Also, I don’t think the business community is tapped out. They are not going to give out cash to the Wilf’s, BUT they will line up to buy the BEST private boxes. This is one product where the demand might actually be the highest for the most expensive boxes. Look at almost any NFL stadium built in recent years and it will be much the same economics.

    The amount local demand for expensive event and sports tickets is quite large. I have no inclination to buy either a $200 seat or a $200 bottle of wine–but there is always a buyer.

  24. Here is a report on PSLs:
    http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/12/03/vikings-stadium-seat-licenses/

    If money can be extracted from season ticket holders, it will be. I’d like to see fans cough up a significant portion of the cost of a new stadium. They claim they want it until it comes time to pay for it. PSLs are a good way to let them put their money where their mouths are. But, I’d also like to see PSL revenues go toward lowering the public’s contribution rather than lowering Wilf’s personal contribution.

    The Wilfs were offered a better deal at the Dome. John Marty offered to sell it to them for $1.

    Regarding GOP legislators, 16 co-signed this editorial opposing public funding:
    http://www.startribune.com/opinion/otherviews/132202643.html

    Sen Hann is also opposed from the GOP, including Racino as a funding source.

  25. @Rick…there is no need for any legislator, GOP or DFL, to ‘loudly oppose the stadium’, but especially a GOPer since they so value the lockstep movement approach, and especially now since their party debt underwear is hanging out in the wind. Believe it or not, the GOP has bigger fish to fry than pushing huge gobs of wilfare money out the door.

    And you can say the fans and business people are lining up…but I don’t see the line, so I say they aren’t. I say they are just as fed up as I am at how the NFL treats its most loyal fans and they have had enough…prove me wrong.

  26. @Ed. Let’s say that the group of 16 in the GOP house is joined by 75% of the DFL in resolutely opposing public funding. That still would not be enough votes to defeat it. Although the group of 16 spoke out in the editorial almost 3 months ago, the remaining 56 GOP House members probably were approached and didn’t sign.

    I suspect the “problem” faced by most legislators here is that almost nobody gets votes for advocating public funding, but they could lose a lot of votes in they are seen to be deal killers that cause the Vikes to move. This is not a position that members of either party wish to be in. There are probably some who will lose votes if they support public funding but I haven’t yet seem any legislator claim they will be kicked our of office for supporting the Vikes.

    @other Mike. After reading your comments you have convinced me that the Vikings fan base is so weak and unwilling to take the front in keeping the Vikes in town–that If I was in Ziggy’s shoes I would pack up and leave and find a better place to make money. You make some good points, that at least in MN, the fans should be much more vocal about absorbing the resposibility financing a new stadium. Maybe this whole deal will fizzle and it is ONLY the fans that are to be blamed and not the taxpayers or opponents of public funding or gambling expansion.

  27. @Rick, if legislators listen to their constituents, they would oppose public funding for an NFL stadium. But, many like building new things rather than spending money to do things like maintain our existing bridges, to they may go against their constituent’s wishes then show up at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

    The GOP group that co-signed that letter, as I understand it, are the Tea Party aligned members. There are others who oppose a stadium, but from different perspectives. Some people believe that government can do so good, while that good does not include subsidizing NFL franchises.

  28. Ed Said: “they may go against their constituent’s wishes then show up at the ribbon cutting ceremony.”

    To Ed: Are you a close associate of mayor Rybak or are you in fact the Mayor posting as Ed????

    Perhaps just a co-incidence, but a person appearing on MPR posing as Mayor Rybak said exactly those same words in the last day or so. Were you on MPR?

  29. @LOL, I remember hearing that on MPR. Rybak appears to be willing to do exactly that, although the city council does not seem to share his interest in subsidizing an NFL franchise.

  30. @ Ed Maybe you got the point exactly backwards. It seems that the State Of Mn ought to be asking the NFL for an exemption on the parking requirements if they use TCF stadium on a temporary basis.

    Everything continues in place. The Vikings clearly are being polite about considering a Minneapolis site, but they apparently still really want to go to Arden Hills. The argument about lack of mass transit carries little weight with them. My understanding is that a modified Arden Hills deal may be submitted on Thursday to Dayton—AND in the meantime almost anything could happen on speculation. Someone has to bring out an elephant gun to stop the Arden Hills proposal in its tracks and I see little evidence of that happening. Ramsey commissioners had foresight and got a proposal on the table long before Minneapolis even thought about it. There is little reason to believe Minneapolis is ready for prime time and no indication that either Rybak or the Council or taxpayers will go along with it.

  31. @Rick…I think you entirely miss my point if you are
    (1) using my comments as deciding things, and
    (2) if you think fans should be more vocal toward deciding this stadium issue.

    What will decide this issue for legislators/NFL/Zygi is if fans and businesses open more than their mouths, they need to open their wallets and create that (financial) line of stadium supporters you claim they have. Talk is too cheap and will be ignored by the NFL/Zygi…they want committed dollars.

    And you are also caught in the past if you think those committed dollars must come from gov’t/public tax funding…the 30 years of GOP anti-tax movement has ‘worked’ and now citizens with deep pockets have to support their own habits or watch them move away.

    Fans (and ballparkmagic) need to read more than the sports page. The public feeding trough has run dry…thus last summer’s gov’t shutdown and all the funding gymnastics to artificially balance the budget, gov’t austerity, tea party politics, banking bailouts, world economic woes, et al have changed things.

  32. @ other mike. Sports fans should read about real news? No way. Ain’t gonna happen. Dream on.

    I agree we need committed dollars. The Vikings seem pretty sure they can fill a new stadium at the prices they want. I think the Vikes know their market and it’s potential just as the Twins did. I don’t recall that rapid and active fans drove the Twins deal.

    The committed dollars come from bonds issued to the private market backed by political decisions and other sources of revenue such as gambling. Even if they used seat licenses as part of the finance structure it would likely be a small part.

    In my view politicians of both parties make claims they never live up to. The GOP claims to be the party of financial responsibility –but it is rarely a valid claim. Just look at Sutton’s mismanagement. How about the national GOP enacting Medicare part D without any way to pay for it. Or Bush cutting taxes twice with two wars. You really must think somebody is going to change this??

    I suppose you are about to predict here for the record that there is NO WAY a stadium will get built with public money and because the business community isn’t buying ads in support of it and fans don’t care enough . Will you then conclude the Vikes will leave town . Perhaps I am overcommitting on your future views, but it sure seems you do believe any deal will die.

  33. @Rick…I think now we are in agreement and we are just approaching the arguments from the other side of the same coin.

    What I am saying is the GOP has been caught in the duplicity of their own anti-tax mantra…that the anti-tax mantra in their lockstep approach is shackling all business in this state (not just sports/Vikes) but any business that wants to suckle from the public trough.

    That the only way out now that they have beat that mantra into the heads and gained their power now for 30 years is
    (1) admit they are wrong, that they are not the party of business and they cannot exist with more taxes…(not bloody likely), or
    (2) follow-through on their beliefs and fund their own business ventures without using tax monies (which is why we are seeing this GOP implosion).
    (3) or they implode and go the way of the WHIGs.

    The Vikings/NFL stadium snafu is just the straw breaking the GOP’s back.

  34. @ Other Mike I am not sure about being in agreement at all. I have no idea where the GOP is heading other than TParty folks like Bachmann have lost their lustre.

    Let’s paint a scenario where the stadium deal blows up and the Vikes leave town. Who is going to be blamed by Sid Hartman? It might be directed at a politician like John Marty or possibly a group of politicians? (Sid, of course, probably will also whine that he blew the warnings long before and it is the fault of those that failed to read his column!!!.)

    Whether or not a Vikes relocation to LA hurts the GOP in the future remains to be seen—but I suspect they would be blamed for some part of it

    You have convinced me that the fans should share the major bulk of the shame and blame here and I suppose the business community should too. Perhaps the politicians will pick up on that idea to shift any blame away from themselves.

    Are you convinced the Vikings are leaving? If you are not, the debate over if the Stadium will “break the back” of the State GOP might be a big waste of time. Where exactly do you stand on this issue?

    FYI. I am on record here with the prediction that the Vikes will locate in Arden Hills and Racino will finance it. Minneapolis doesn’t have its act together. The Vikes haven’t said diddly about liking any site but Arden Hills.

  35. You are correct, we aren’t in agreement.

    Bachmann is a non-factor, but her CD5 constituents, who are rabidly anti-tax and small gov’t brained are.

    You are thinking in the past, when tax and spend was still around. So Sid can blame whoever he wants, but who cares who Sid blames when there has been zero fan financial support displayed.

    When everyone grumbles that a backroom stadium deal has been struck and they are waiting for ‘political cover’ before they announce it…what that means ‘we need some fans to step up…where are they?’

    I’m not trying to drive the Vikings away, what I’m trying to do is help Viking fans keep their damn team here.

  36. Worth noting that Dayton says the preferred site is Linden Ave yet this has the least known variables. Who knows is it is even remotely possible to develop.

    Dayton says that Arden Hills needs approval from GOP legislature to make it happen. This is a game of “hot potato”.

    Dayton thinks Racino is speculative legislatively– again he passes the buck to the GOP.

    Dayton thinks that if Racino is approved, it will be tied up in courts for years. The MIGA group is sure to sue because they don’t want competition—but if this will take more than a year to settle in court remains to be seen. The former Chief Justice has opined for a shorter resolution.

    The window of new gambling might be a train that is hard to stop. Rumors are that bigger national gambling interests now see a possibility of new gambling opportunities in MN. How many lobbyists does it take to have gambling find a solution for building a new stadium?? No wonder some legislators are squealing about a potentially bad environment that mixes gambling and stadium politics. Maybe they are being bombarded by such lobbying factions and it is sucking the oxygen out of the Statehouse these days.

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