Mortenson Construction sent a letter to the Metropolitan Council and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission saying, in effect, "Yes, we can."
That's in response to a report earlier this month from the two agencies calling a proposed 2015 completion date for the Arden Hills plan proposed by Ramsey County and the Vikings "aggressive" and "unrealistic." Along with a letter, the company released a proposed construction schedule.
It has a proposed start on Nov. 28, 2012, and finish date of Aug. 27, 2015.
See it for yourself below. Note that footnote: "Legislative Approval 11/30/11".
Here's the letter that company vice president John Wood sent along with the schedule:
Posted at 6:38 AM on October 26, 2011
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
MPR takes an in-depth look at how public reporting on how the state's Legacy Fund are being spent are lagging.
Gov. Dayton holds a news conference this morning to discuss his jobs summit. He will also be on MPR's Midday at 11.
MPR says the governor's summit starts the conversation on job creation.
Several businesses said at the jobs summit that they can't find qualified workers.
The Star Tribune says Delta paid back a $175 million loan to the Metropolitan Airports Commission - sparking job fears.
The MPCA Board approved the Keetac expansion.
The builder of the Vikings stadium says the stadium can be built by 2015.
Jobs are a key issue in the debate over the stadium. MPR takes a look at the numbers.
Vikings cornerback Chris Cook was charged with felony domestic assault.
The Special Redistricting Panel will hold the first round of oral arguments today on the best way to draw the state's political boundaries. The five judge panel has been appointed to draw a new set of lines if the GOP controlled Legislature and Gov. Dayton can't agree on a new map by February 21. Today's hearing will focus on the principles the panel should consider when drawing the map. Democrats and Republicans have hired high-priced legal talent to argue their case on behalf of the parties.
Under the Dome
Democrat Jeff Hayden was sworn in as the newest member of the Minnesota Senate.
Health agencies challenge the state law that cuts payments for personal help.
A new study says the flu vaccine is not as effective as thought.
A new poll says Congressional approval is at all-time low of 9%
McClatchy says "President Barack Obama and his point man on Iraq, Vice President Joe Biden, remained aloof from the process, not even phoning top Iraqi officials to help reach a deal, according to logs released by the U.S. Embassy here."
President Obama released a plan to ease student loan burdens.
GOP Rep. John Kline said the consolidation can create a "pretty big slush fund."
Federal prosecutors are expected to file criminal charges today against a business executive for insider trading.
The CBO says top earners doubled their share of the nation's income over the last three decades.
MPR says A tax holiday could return $20 billion in overseas profits to the U.S.
The New York Times says venture capitalists are putting their money on easing medical device rules. GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen is mentioned.
DFL Sen. Al Franken touts the education bill and the amendments that he put on the measure.
Franken also shifted tactics on the LGBT student protection bill.
Europe faces new hurdles in the crisis over debt.
Race for U.S. Senate
Anthony Hernandez, a 32-year-old St. Paul resident, is the latest Republican to announce he's challenging DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Race for President
President Obama appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night.
Rick Perry released his plan to help fix the economy and change the nation's tax code. It clashes with Mitt Romney's plan.
Here's the full text of Perry's speech.
CNN says Perry's simple tax plan is not that simple.
Bachmann alleges Perry is using her plan.
In Ohio, Mitt Romney wouldn't say whether he supports two ballot measures - one dealing with collective bargaining rights changes passed by Republicans earlier this year, and another that would prevent the state from participating in health care mandates. Slate reports.
Romney won't be attending the Ronald Reagan dinner in Iowa Nov. 4
Perry also released his first ad in Iowa.
Pat Robertson says the GOP field may be too extreme.
Gov. Dayton will be on MPR's Midday today at 11am. Dayton is expected to discuss yesterday's jobs summit, his plans for the upcoming session and why he thinks a Vikings stadium bill needs to be completed in a special legislative session.
You can tune in on the radio or listen to the program live here.
GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers and the House Republican Campaign Committee will be hunting for more than big dollar contributions today. Zellers and GOP House Majority Leader Matt Dean are headlining a Pheasant Hunt Fundraiser for the HRCC. The event, which is at the Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club in Prior Lake, is hosted by Pawn America CEO Brad Rixman. It will also feature Minnesota Bound host Ron Schara, who is also a member of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
A fundraising invite obtained by MPR News says a $5,000 contribution will allow a donor to bring along three other hunters. They will also be joined by a legislator. A $2,500 contribution will allow a donor to bring along one other hunter. A lawmaker will also join them on the hunt. Individual hunters can give $1,000. Those preferring not to hunt can pay $250 to attend a cocktail reception.
Rixman has donated large sums to the HRCC in the past. He gave the HRCC $20,000 during the 2010 election cycle. Donors can give unlimited amounts to political party units and outside groups.
The hunt starts at 2:30.(4 Comments)
After a drawn-out debate over the budget, lawmakers have turned their attention to another delayed decision: whether to green-light a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.
Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, is ranking member of the state Senate's tax committee, and he opposes the effort because it is too expensive for taxpayers.
"Zygi Wilf and the Vikings are attempting to make their Ramsey County stadium deal sound like a run-of-the-mill, routine proposal. It is not," Marty wrote in an Oct. 23 opinion piece in the Twin Cities Daily Planet. "The Vikings are asking for the #1, all-time, biggest taxpayer subsidy of any sports franchise anywhere in American history!"
Marty wrote a commentary on the subject for Minnesota Public Radio News Oct. 21.
For the first time, PoliGraph tackles sports, and finds Marty's claim mostly accurate.
The proposed Arden Hills Vikings stadium is expected to exceed $1 billion. The current plan would require the state to chip in $300 million, Ramsey County to pay for $350 million of the project's cost by raising the sales tax, and the Vikings to contribute $407 million.
That doesn't include losses in tax revenue that Marty argues would effectively increase the public's contribution further, nor does it factor in a Metropolitan Council report that predicts the project will exceed cost projections.
To support his claim, Marty relied on research conducted earlier this year by two economists associated with the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. The report looked back at the costs of all sports arenas in the United States going back as far as 1990.
The most expensive buildings on the list include the Indianapolis Colts stadium, which cost taxpayers roughly $620 million (the Holy Cross report incorrectly states the cost as $720 million), the Washington Nationals field, which cost the public $611 million, and the Orlando Magic arena, which cost the public $430 million.
PoliGraph looked back even further using research by the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University, and found only one facility more costly to the public than the Vikings stadium is expected to be: Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The Garden's most recent construction occurred in 1968 and cost $123 million in taxpayer dollars. Accounting for inflation, the stadium would have cost roughly $762 million today.
Madison Square Garden beats the Vikings' proposal when adjusted for inflation, but the building is more than 40 years old. When it comes to stadiums built in the last 20 years, the planned Vikings stadium comes out on top.
For getting his facts nearly correct, Marty's claim leans toward accurate.
The Twin Cities Daily Planet, Let's inject fiscal sanity into stadium debate, by John Marty, Oct. 23, 2011
The Minnesota Vikings, the New Minnesota Stadium: FAQ, accessed Oct. 24, 2011
National Public Radio, The Nation: Stop The Subsidy-Sucking Sports Stadiums, by Neil Demause, August 5, 2011
Metropolitan Council, Stadium Proposal Risk Analysis, Oct. 2011
Financing Professional Sports Facilities, By Robert A. Baade and Victor A. Matheson, January 2011
Marquette University Law School, National Sports Law Institute, Sports Facility Reports Volume 12, Summer 2011
Interview, Heidi Mallin, spokeswoman, Lucas Oil Field
Email exchange, Victor Matheson, economist, College of the Holy Cross, Oct. 26, 2011
Posted at 1:06 PM on October 26, 2011
by Brett Neely
Filed under: U.S. House
WASHINGTON - Congressman John Kline, who's the Republican chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, has come out guns blazing against President Obama's newly-unveiled plan to reduce student loan payments for college grads with low incomes.
Calling the plan "politics before policy," Kline suggested the Obama Administration focus on job creation rather than on the growing burden of student debt for many recent graduates.
"What this plan will do instead is encourage more borrowing across the board," said Kline in a statement issued by his House committee. "That means more debt for students, more debt for taxpayers, and more red ink on the government's books."
Under Obama's plan, which he can implement without congressional approval, low-income graduates would pay 10 percent of their discretionary income on loan repayments for the next 20 years, down from 15 percent of their income over 25 years under a prior incarnation of the program.
Kline has also criticized Obama in recent months for circumventing Congress by allowing states to apply to the Education Department for waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act. Kline's committee is proceeding slowly with a series of bills to reauthorize the Bush-era education law but the Obama Administration has argued in offering the waivers that the committee's pace was too slow for many school districts across the country.
A five-judge panel that's likely to end up drawing the state's political boundaries heard arguments Wednesday about the best way to do it.
Attorneys for the political parties made their case to the panel Wednesday. Republicans say the court should make population changes its top priority. Democrats argued the court should give communities of interest -- like minority populations -- equal weight.
Attorney Eric Magnuson, who is representing the Republican Party, said DFL attorneys are going too far with their recommendation.
"What he's really proposing is that you have subjective and kind of nebulous criteria so that they can maybe fashion things a little bit more the way they want them," Magnuson said. "In our view, maybe those are arguments you can make to the Legislature but when you're arguing to the court, you have to follow the constitution and the statute."
But Marc Elias, an attorney representing Democrats, said the court needs to also consider communities. He said drawing the lines on population alone hurts certain communities such as minorities.
"It's not enough to stop there because if life were that simple we wouldn't be here," Elias said. "If it was just a mechanical process of taking these higher level criteria and applying them mechanically then indeed we wouldn't need hearings."
The parties have to submit their proposed maps to the court by November 18th. The court will take over the process if Governor Dayton and the GOP-controlled Legislature can't reach an agreement on the new congressional and legislative districts by February 21st.
A reporter asked Dayton to give odds on whether he can reach agreement with the Legislature on a map before the deadline.
"Somewhere between the Vikings winning the division and the Vikings winning the Super Bowl," Dayton said. "But there's always hope."
You can listen to the full redistricting hearing here: Listen
Pool Photo provided by the Star Tribune's Glen Stubbe.
Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, waded into the Vikings stadium debate today by saying he doubts the House Taxes Committee will vote for any stadium proposal that includes a tax hike to pay for the stadium.
"The Minnesota Vikings are obviously an important asset to the state, but many in Houston and Fillmore counties have told me that they don't want any statewide tax raised to help build a new facility," Davids wrote in an e-mail to supporters."If the governor chooses to call a special session, it's going to be interesting to watch the process move forward."
Davids is chair of the House Taxes Committee which will almost certainly have to hold a hearing on any Vikings stadium bill.
Gov. Dayton says he intends to release his stadium plan during the week of Nov. 7. Ramsey County is proposing a half cent sales tax increase to pay for $350 million of an Arden Hills facility. The Vikings are proposing to spend more than $400 million on the facility. Under that plan the state would have to come up with $300 million.
Several ways to finance the state's portion of the new stadium have surfaced in recent weeks. The ideas include an expansion of gambling, the use of Legacy Amendment money, a ticket tax or a fee on sports memorabilia. Davids suggested Dayton shouldn't bother proposing a tax hike.
"I look forward to working with the governor on this issue and promise to give any stadium proposal a fair hearing," Davids said. "But knowing the makeup of the Taxes committee, I can almost assure him that if the stadium plan contains new taxes, it will face an uphill battle for approval."
Republicans in the House and Senate have not released a stadium plan. Dayton says he wants to call a special session for the week of Nov. 21 to resolve the issue.
A bipartisan group of legislators will join with religious leaders and a group that organizes against gambling to speak out tomorrow against any efforts to expand gambling to pay for a new Vikings stadium. Sen. David Hann and Rep. Ann Lenczewski will join members of the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition and Minnesotans Against Gambling Expansion. The group will make their announcement at a Thursday morning news conference but sent out a news release on Wednesday.
"We're glad these lawmakers are joining with us and speaking out," said Rev. Doug Mitchell, chair of the JRLC Board and a minister at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis. "Increasing state dependence on gambling would exact a toll on those who can least afford it. Studies show that the social costs are just too high. As a minister to a downtown congregation I am particularly concerned about the impact that a casino would have on our neighborhood and community."
The JRLC is an interfaith coalition representing the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the Minnesota Council on Churches, Islamic Center of Minnesota and the Jewish Community Relations council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.
Both Hann and Lenczewski have been long-time critics of any expansion of gambling. Lencewski has worked to defeat any proposals that would put a casino at the Mall of America. Hann has also long opposed any expansion of gambling. He authored a bill in 2005 to abolish the lottery.
Several groups are lobbying for a casino in downtown Minneapolis or for the expansion of slot machines at the state's two horse tracks to help pay for a Vikings stadium.
The Minnesota Historical Society is urging their supporters to contact Gov. Dayton and the Legislature and ask them to not use Legacy funds to pay for a new Vikings stadium. The action comes less than a week after MPR News reported that some Republicans in the Legislature are looking to tap part of the Arts and Heritage portion of the Legacy Amendment to pay for the stadium.
Gov. Dayton hasn't completely ruled out using the funds to help pay for a portion of the state's contribution to the $1.1 billion stadium.
The threat of tapping up to $60 million a year for the Vikings Stadium has prompted concern from the Historical Society. The group, which receives funds from the Legacy Amendment, sent out an e-mail to supporters today urging them to take action on the issue:
While this concept is contrary to both the intent of the voters and the language of the constitutional amendment, it seems to be getting some consideration and should be taken seriously.
Please take a few moments to call the Governor as well as your legislator at their office, home, or both to express your opposition to using Legacy funds for a Vikings stadium. If you are not able to talk to your legislators directly and need to leave a phone message, please also send them an email to express your opinion. Make sure to mention that you are a constituent.
Voters amended the Minnesota Constitution in 2008 to increase the state's sales tax by 3/8ths of a percent and dedicate the money to the outdoors, clean water, parks and trails, arts and cultural activities.
Several members of the Legislature have objected to the idea. Sen. Dick Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, says he'll sue to prevent any attempt to use the funds for a Vikings stadium. DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk of Cook also said the measure has little support in his caucus.
"It would be very difficult to find Democratic votes for that," Bakk told MPR News. "Less than ten. Maybe less than five."
Minnesota Public Radio is one of hundreds of groups that receive money from the Legacy Amendment.
Dayton and lawmakers are looking to put together a package that could finance a stadium for the Vikings. Dayton says he'll release his plan the week of Nov. 7.(1 Comments)