How Senator Julie Rosen Forces Through $13,780,000 in Additional Vikings Stadium #wilfare

The MN Senate Rules Committee held a hearing this afternoon where they discussed which committees the Vikings stadium corporate welfare bill should pass through on its way to the Senate floor (should it make it that far). The five minute exchange below highlights how easily the Senate can give away more than $13 million of the public’s money to a businessman in New Jersey.

Sen. Rosen’s construction material tax exemption projections:

2013: $180,000
2014: $4,700,000
2015: $8,900,000

I don’t know about you, but when I go to my local hardware store to buy materials to work on my own house, I pay taxes. Why shouldn’t the Vikings? In fact, the taxes I pay for construction materials on my own home would include a .5% sales tax (the Minneapolis sales tax that goes toward construction and 30+ years of operating costs at the stadium) to subsidize Zygi World.

So, Sen. Rosen doesn’t want the bill to pass through the tax committee. A bill that gives away $13.78 MILLION dollars in taxes wouldn’t pass through the tax committee? Seems a little strange, eh? Senator Thompson explained why to Tom Scheck on Twitter:

@tomscheck The votes are not there in the Tax Committee. They have to avoid it.

In an attempt to provide the largest corporate welfare project to a sports team in state history, Senator Julie Rosen is working to bypass the legislative process on behalf of a private business owned by a guy in New Jersey. Since the Senate Tax Committee wouldn’t pass the $13.78 million giveaway to Zygi Wilf (based on Sen. Thompson’s tweet) this year, Rosen can table that particular giveaway for this year, then work to get Zygi his bonus wilfare next year.

13 thoughts on “How Senator Julie Rosen Forces Through $13,780,000 in Additional Vikings Stadium #wilfare”

  1. @Ed. You have reached another new low in quality of your analysis. No wonder why readers don’t bother to respond. Cement is a product which must be imported from outstate. If we tax cement, it is substantively a windfall for the State, which raises the price and the subsidy needed. You are chasing your tail. It’s utter nonsense. Why not charge government departments sales tax on everything they buy just like your example? The People’s stadium isn’t owned by the Viking, it’s owned by the government—the Vikings just pay rent.

  2. @Rick

    If it is truly “the people’s stadium” shouldn’t “the people” get a chance to vote on it?


    I am totally with you in opposing the stadium but at this point I want a floor vote in the House and the Senate so that Minnesotans will have a record of how their elected officials voted. Minneapolis may be deprived of a referendum vote, but we can all hold our state legislators accountable this fall.

  3. @Matt. You are kind of taking the same approach as the GOP is on the marriage and voter Id amendments —and they would happily expand this list if they could. They seem to think that the Governor can’t exercise proper judgement.

    The Stadium likely won’t go for a people’s vote, but you can decide to vote for Rybak in the next election. In an ideal world, everyone would agree , but they don’t and we can’t have every matter go to a referendum. You have to trust the folks you elected.

    @Ed. Good luck if you think you can get more money from the Wilf’s. I suppose the NFL could kick in more, but they would have to change internal rules with a limit of $200. The only way you can get more from the owners is to have them sell the team to a local owner like Glen Taylor who may have the resources. NFL teams are so expensive that as a small market MN has a disadvantage. The only local buyer that was interested in taking the team from Red was Denny Hecker.

  4. The problem with waiting until the votes are done, is that is waiting until the damage is done (assuming ala Rick that it will pass). The Zygiworld gets your funds for 40 years and you’ll be still paying for it after it is razed like the Astrodome and Kingdome.

    The horse is gone then and you can replace all the farmhands you want but that doesn’t bring back the horse. To the NFL, having legislators held accountable AFTER the vote is less bother to them than replacing their own lightbulbs.

    People have to get active now on this “People’s Stadium” issue, either way, pro or con, not afterward. Don’t pin your hopes of being represented solely on some mythical city referendum or state legislator’s vote. Or as Rick points out…on your voice being heard on a blog, or certainly being represented by commentors here.

    It can be as simple as a phone call or email to your reps, but don’t let iffy polls or fancy referendums be the extent of your voice, because the NFL flies into town so their voices can be heard face-to-face.

    Again, the problem is not ‘do you want a new Vikings stadium’ but ‘does this stadium deal represent the best interests of the state of MN.’ Call or write your leg now.

  5. @ Other Mike

    Quoting today’s Strib Editorial:

    “Like it or not, Republican legislators face limited choices. They can either strike a deal with Dayton, or walk away and face the accusation this fall that they turned in a ‘do-nothing’ performance. Republican partisans may consider those choices equally distasteful.”
    —end of quote—

    As far as I can tell, you will fight Dayton on the the stadium forever. You might lose a lot more than you think in blasting out frequent distrust of the Governor on this issue.

    Dayton will likely get the Stadium deal approved and the only thing we don’t know is how much ground he has to give up to shaky Republicans to get them to vote. Dayton appears to be caving on the business tax issue in exchange for votes on the Stadium.

    My advice is that you should be careful on whining about the stadium issue because as you weaken Dayton’s negotiating power— you also might get more objectionable legislation linked to the deal. Bi-partisan politics is about compromise.

    It’s too bad that we finally get Pawlenty out of office and dodge a bullet with Emmer, only to get normally liberal voters who don’t want to trust DFL leadership either. Obama has the same problem with disenchanted liberals who had high expectations and now retailiate and help the TParty stall Obamas efforts.

    It makes no sense to me why you choose to stand on your high horse over some Stadium deal you don’t like and then accept other legislation you really don’t like to see happen as a result. It’s short-sided.

    Dayton and Rybak are not fools….but you and Ed might be a bit foolish here in your quest to oppose them.

  6. Rick, why do you always resort to name calling? Do you think your negativity is going to convert anyone to your side? Argue the facts and get rid of the negativity and name calling. You’re harshing my mellow, dude.

  7. @Dabney Show me an specific instance where I engaged in what you consider “name calling” and I will respond to it.

  8. Okay, my bad. You didn’t come out and call Ed and Other Mike fools. But, your tone is super negative: you accuse them of “whining about the stadium issue” and “standing on [their] high horse.” Your first response starts, “You have reached another new low in quality of your analysis. No wonder why readers don’t bother to respond.” And you go on, “You are chasing your tail. It’s utter nonsense.” Who are you trying to pursuade with this? You come off sounding like an A-hole.

  9. @Dabney Thanks for joining in. You should have seen the recent comments posted by “Ziggy” who apparently knows Ed and Other Mike perhaps too well.

    You are very right in that I am trying to hit Ed and Other Mike over the head with a verbal two-by-four. They haven’t been real willing to change points of view and thus it takes some work to get their attention. Perhaps I should use compliments to get them to see a different point of view.

    I suggest that you could join in the debate and test the validity your own beliefs and arguments on their own merit. Why don’t you try getting in the line of fire on this subsidy debate rather than be just a bystander. You can choose your style of debate or whether you want to tip-toe.

    But for the sake of your perceptions of Ed’s web blog traffic I will now stop posting here for a full week and you can see how it goes. You can argue with Other Mike about the NFL being “past peak” or the relationship of the stadium issue to the “silk road” in China. Sooner or later, I always thought Ed was going to ban me from this site.

  10. Don’t worry Dabney about Rick’s tone, he is an old hat at these types of comment streams.

    Rick, you sound as weary as I feel of this ‘debate’…this is why I avoided politics for many years, it is only the vastness of this boondoggle that has kept me commenting. It has only been trying to understand Rick’s stance that has me returning, but now that he is leaving it seems, I may never know. It seemed to boil down to telling Ed and I that politics of this ilk is handled better with lube and by relaxing and letting it happen…maybe we will find out in a week.

    In the meantime, Rick may be right, that this was all pre-arranged, all the rest was kabuki theater for political cover. The NFL model has been in place for weeks if not months and the giant sucking sound of MN money heading to Goldman-Sachs and the NFL is just a vote or two away.

    People will then be free to pitch fits and vote out representatives here to their hearts content (Lord knows they won’t have anything better to do), while in NYC the 20 dollar bills can be rolled up and the bonuses collected.

    Because that fair citizens is exactly how the ruling elite in this country get something done, by extracting your tax dollars to develop stuff. It used to be building power plants for businesses, roads for goods and services to flow to market, shiny skyscraper office buildings…then it ran out of ideas and started funding entertainment, and providing seasonal jobs as hot dog vendors instead of office or labor jobs. Some investment.

  11. But…don’t take it from me, take it from one of the world’s most respected economists–

    Money Quote = “My concern is that we have set in motion an adverse economics and an adverse politics. A lot of American inequality is caused by rent-seeking: Monopolies, military spending, procurement, extractive industries, drugs. We have some economic sectors that are very good, but we also have a lot of parasites.”

    In case you miss the connection, the NFL is a parasite; it produces nothing of value, and in return for some entertainment, it extracts huge incomes that never return to its most loyal communities.

  12. Often in this stadium debate, I have tried to sum up that times are different now compared to even the recent past when increasingly large public subsidies to pro sports are shoved through onto taxpayers. This article sums up how times have impacted our young–

    I don’t agree with the complete article, but the stats presented about youth in debt are are incredibly sad. Stadium subsidies will aggravate this by tying up funds that could create better jobs more effectively. I think all parties can do better than this stadium proposal–the NFL, the state, the city, the Vikings and their fans–this is not the time for just another same-old deal.

    Money Quote = “Nobody wants this. The Boomers did not set out to screw over their kids. The wind just seemed to blow them that way. But no matter what their motivations, a painful truth grows truer with every passing year: Through its refusal to act, the generation in power is willing to do what other generations before them would not — sell their children’s birthright for a mess of their own pottage.

    …Youth should be the only issue of the 2012 election, because all the subsidiary issues — inequality, the rising class system in America, the specter of decline, mass unemployment, the growing debt — are all fundamentally about the war against young Americans. But the choice young Americans face is between a party that claims to represent their interests but fails to and a party that explicitly opposes their interests and actively works to disenfranchise them.”

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