Probably going to end up in court before it's all said and done
When the Vikings, the Governor, and the city of Minneapolis announced that they had come to an agreement on building a new stadium, part of me was pretty happy. It was the first time that the state, the Vikings, and a 'local partner' were all on the same sheet of music.
Yeah, that good time rock and roll feeling is heading south faster than Sterling Archer's morals.
The plan is contingent on bypassing a voter referendum, which Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak feels isn't a requirement with the way the wording of the financing is parsed in the bill.
Opponents feel differently, to say the least.
Here's the deal, the lowdown, the 'what you need to know'.
After the jump.
Rybak wants to simply extend the downtown taxes by thirty years, as opposed to letting them expire in 2020, to fund the cities portion of the stadium bill. Even though it's a tax on Minneapolis businesses, it's money that is state controlled, and money that the city would generate but never actually control. Rybak and stadium proponents feel that this is state money, not city money, and since it's state money there is no need for a referendum. See, the referendum is required if the city is going to levy a new tax to spend more than $10 million on a stadium.
Opponents say that's really splitting hairs, and extending the tax is actually levying a new tax on the city. If you are levying a new tax, well it's a tax in the city, it's for a sports facility, and since it well exceeds the $10 million dollar threshold, a referendum is required.
And they're more than likely going to sue if Rybak, Ted Mondale, and the state of Minnesota try to bypass the council if they vote for a referendum:
Council Member Cam Gordon, an opponent of the mayor's plan, said proponents of the stadium sound "like they're playing kind of legalese or artfully cooking up some way to get around" the referendum.
Gordon suggested pursuing that strategy will invite lawsuits and mean "some judge is going to have to determine it."
However, Minneapolis city attorney Susan Segal and Ted Mondale, Governor Dayton's chief stadium negotiator, disagree:
City Attorney Susan Segal offered her legal backing. Since the state would "retain" the taxes for the stadium, Segal said in a statement, "the taxes would be outside the control of the City and our charter provisions."
Gov. Mark Dayton's chief negotiator for the stadium deal, Ted Mondale, agreed: "The money is never touched by the city. The state in the end spends the money. So therefore the city's not spending money."
Neither Kurt Zellers, the Speaker of the House, or Dave Senjem, the Senate Majority Leader, have given their blessing to the bill. Zellers has said he'll probably wait until the bill comes to the floor before deciding whether or not to support it.
That's because Kurt Zellers is a tool, and has no political backbone. He's waiting to see which way the political winds will be blowing, and he will do what the polls tell him he should do. Way to take a stand, Kurt. You know, I'd have a lot more respect for you if you just took a stand for or against it. I don't have to like your decision, but this political football you're playing is cowardly, dude. How did you get to such a position of leadership when you've demonstrated zero ability to lead on this?
Yeah, unless something drastic changes people's minds on the city council, this isn't going to end well. Because it seems that even if the city council approves the plan, there's going to be a lawsuit filed regardless.
Have a nice weekend.