Posted at 1:56 AM on May 9, 2012
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The Vikings stadium bill is one step closer to Gov. Dayton's desk. The Senate passed the bill last night 38-28 after ten hours of debate. The move means both the House and Senate have signaled support for the plan.
Here's the roll call in the Senate
A joint House/Senate Conference Committee will now start debating their differences on the bills. The House is represented by Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska and Rep. Terry Morrow, DFL-Mankato. The Senate is represented by Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria and Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth. Every member of the conference committee voted for the bills. The conference committee is expected to start work immediately.
The Pi Press has a good breakdown of the differences in the House and Senate bills.
The House and Senate appear to be taking another stab at a Tax bill. The Tax Bill conference committee is scheduled to meet at 9am. The two Republican chairs of the Tax Committee have been negotiating with their DFL counterparts and Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans. There haven't yet reached a deal.
The Bonding bill is headed to Gov. Dayton's desk. The House voted to take the Senate language. Dayton is expected to sign the bill.
The Legislative Auditor says local governments should encourage consolidation.
The CIA says the Al-Qaeda bomber was a CIA informant.
GOP House Speaker John Boehner says the House will work to extend all tax rates.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is now a Swiss Citizen.
Same-sex marriage debate
North Carolina voters passed a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman.
The Republican Party of Minnesota reached a rent agreement with its landlord. The agreement means the party won't be evicted.
Race for U.S. Senate
Republican Pete Hegseth gets a pre-convention boost from a Super PAC.
Race for President
Mitt Romney won primaries in North Carolina, Indiana and West Virginia.
A felon defeated President Obama in several West Virginia counties during Tuesday's primary.
The same-sex marriage debate poses a problem for President Obama.
WASHINGTON - In another sign of the importance outside groups will play in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District campaign this year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce buying TV ads in support of first-term Republican Chip Cravaack.
"Who's standing up for Minnesota jobs? Chip Cravaack. He's fighting for small business," the ad says.
The Chamber did not disclose the size of the ad buy but it was part of a larger campaign targeting a total of 17 U.S. House races and four Senate races.
Cravaack is expected to face a tough path to re-election. The 8th District has long been considered a DFL stronghold, and Cravaack won a narrow, surprise victory in 2010, unseating longtime DFL Congressman Jim Oberstar.
Outside groups supporting Democrats and Republicans have already been active in the district since last year running ads favoring and opposing Cravaack.
The Chamber traditionally supports Republicans. In recent years, it has become one of Washington's most powerful outside interest groups, spending $66 million on lobbying in 2011 and also spending aggressively in the 2010 midterm elections. Due to the organization's nonprofit status, information about companies and organizations giving money to the Chamber is opaque.
"We're asking constituents to hold their members of Congress accountable for how they vote on the policies that harm economic growth," Chamber president and CEO Tom Donohue said in a statement announcing the ad campaign.
Posted at 2:00 PM on May 9, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: PoliGraph
A plan to build a new Vikings stadium dominated debate this week in the Legislature, with lawmakers from both parties lining up on either side of the issue.
DFL Sen. John Harrington supported the plan, saying that a relatively small public contribution could reap big financial benefits for the state.
"If we look back historically, the Metrodome was built with about $33 million in public dollars. It has returned to the state $340 million," Harrington said. "I don't have any investments that return that kind of return on investment, and at the same time it has put people to work."
Harrington's claim is on solid ground.
The Metrodome opened in 1982 and cost $55 million to build, according to the Viking's website. The public investment was roughly $33.6 million, including $25.6 million from the City of Minneapolis and $8 million from a seven county liquor tax.
The state did not contribute to the stadium's construction.
In 2009, the Metrodome had generated roughly $320 million for state, Minneapolis and the surrounding area since it opened, according to a 2009 report conducted by RSM McGladrey on behalf of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. The vast majority of the cash went to the state.
But that tax revenue study is a few years old. More recently, the Vikings say the Metrodome has generated nearly $360 million in tax revenue, with more than $340 million of that going to the state's general fund.
The Vikings estimate they pay roughly $20 million annually in state and local taxes. Roughly $10 million comes from income taxes paid by NFL players, coaches, trainers and other employees with incomes more than $250,000, according to the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
Harrington's claim appears to be in range according to several estimates.
His claim is accurate.
RSM McGladrey, Metropolitan Sports Facility Commission, Analysis of the Estimated Historical Tax Revenue Benefit to State, County and Local Governmental Agencies from Activities Associated With Major Professional Sports Facilities in Minnesota, December 2009
The Minnesota Vikings, New Minnesota Stadium, accessed May 9, 2012
The Minnesota Vikings, Quick Hits - Benefits Downtown East New Stadium, accessed May 9, 2012
Email exchange, John Stiles, spokesman, Mayor R.T. Rybak, May 8, 2012
Email exchange, Ryan Brown, spokesman, Minnesota Department of Revenue, May 8, 2012
Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul will speak at the Minnesota Republican Convention in St. Cloud on May 18.
Having the Texas Congressman speak "will highlight our common Republican purpose of restoring limited government and individual liberty by electing Republican candidates who believe in those core party principles," said Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Pat Shortridge.
"It will also establish the Republican Party as the growing party that is welcoming new people and new ideas and preparing to be a long-term, conservative governing majority," Shortridge said.
Paul is scheduled after the conclusion of the U.S. Senate endorsement, according to a party statement.
Paul's Minnesota supporters are already expected to be well represented at the convention. That could help Rep. Kurt Bills, R-Rosemount, as he seeks party endorsement to challenge DFL incumbent Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Bills endorsed Paul earlier this year, and Paul returned the favor.
Bills' opponents Dan Severson and Pete Hegseth have been playing up Bills' association with Paul. The two say that Bills and Paul's anti-establishment politics are out-of-step with most Republicans, and that Bills won't be able to beat Klobuchar in the general election as a result.
WASHINGTON - Having long ago dropped out of the Republican presidential race, Tim Pawlenty is now bidding adieu to what's left of his national political organization.
The former Minnesota governor is closing the political action committee he used to launch his failed presidential bid. In a letter to the Federal Election Commission, the treasurer of Pawlenty's Freedom First PAC said the organization "has essentially been dormant" except for minor expenses related to winding the committee down.
The news was first reported by Politico.
Pawlenty was among the first candidates to enter the Republican presidential primary and used the Freedom First PAC to develop his political organization and pay for travel. He ended his campaign after a disappointing third-place finish in the symbolic Iowa straw poll in August.
Since leaving the presidential race, Pawlenty has endorsed the now-presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney, and has served as Romney's surrogate in the national media from time to time. Romney's supporters helped Pawlenty pay off his campaign debt.
It was an uncharacteristic vote, DFL Sen. Sandy Pappas concedes: hers was one of the green "Y"s on the tally board when the Vikings stadium bill came up late last night.
"I have to tell you that I have never voted for a bill before for a state subsidy of professional sports stadiums," Pappas said today. "So it was a big step for me to do that."
But she says she had good reason. "There were certain things we needed to get for St. Paul," Pappas said.
The city of St. Paul wants help building a new St. Paul Saints stadium, and city is eying $47.5 million in the bonding bill, set to be granted by the Department of Employment and Economic Development for renovation and construction around the state.
"The governor has told us he would look favorably on that project. And we were also looking for some parity with Target Center. We hope that there's some language in the bill to look at joint marketing or joint operational options."
There is also $2.7 million annually for St. Paul in the stadium bill, for 20 years, to pay off debt on the city's RiverCentre convention center.
"We still have an issue with the X (the Xcel Energy Center), because we still need (state) loan forgiveness," Pappas said. "But our request for loan forgiveness was out three years, not in this biennieum, so we just have to come back and try for that next year."
Pappas wasn't alone. Three of the four-member St. Paul delegation in the Senate voted yes, including Dick Cohen and John Harrington. Five of the eight members in the House delegation also voted green.
And that wasn't the only East Metro maneuvering on the stadium field.
Outgoing DFL Sen. Mary Jo McGuire offered a last-minute amendment to the stadium bill looking for money to clean up the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site in Arden Hills. That's where the Vikings had an agreement with Ramsey county to build last year.
The county has a limited-time offer (through Sept.) from the federal government to buy a nearly 500 acre parcel for basically what it will cost to clean it up -- $28.5 million. The DEED money is a matching grant, so the county would have to come up with half of that. (McGuire might someday have a hand in that, too. Following her departure from the Legislature after being paired with DFLer John Marty in redistricting, McGuire is running to replace outgoing Ramsey County commissioner Jan Parker.)
"I know there's a lot of people that are going for the DEED money. It's not a guarantee. It's clearly not a sure thing," McGuire said. "A lot of people are eying that DEED money."
The Senate turned down McGuire's effort, and McGuire posted a red "N" on the stadium bill a few hours later. "I've been a pretty consistent No on the stadium for a lot of personal reasons... I think the bill is not what it should be."
Was she tempted to follow her neighbors' example?
"I respect the decision of my colleagues," McGuire said. "When there's something that's going to happen, and there's not a way to stop it, then you do what you can to get what's needed in that bill."
Fifty million. That's the number the state has added onto the contribution it wants from the Vikings for a new stadium in downtown. The state wants the Vikings to spend $477 million - $50 million more than the Vikings commitment to spend $427 million.
A House and Senate conference committee released the number in a joint report, set to be the subject of a commitee hearing tonight. Update: Here's the conference committee report.
You can read the report here.
Senate sponsor Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, has told MPR's Tom Scheck that the team has not agreed to the number. About an hour ago, the Vikings left the Governor's office through a non-public entrance and declined comment.
"They're talking with the owners and were going to proceed ahead with the conference committee," Rosen said. "We're going to meet and go through our agreement and we'll see where the Vikings land."
The original plan, released March 1, had the state building and owning a $975 million, fixed roof stadium in downtown Minneapolis.
The state would have paid $398 million, paid for by taxes on new, expanded gambling including electronic pull tabs and bingo. The city of Minneapolis would have paid $150 million -- borrowed on the city's behalf by the state -- and paid it back with existing hospitality taxes.
The Vikings were to be in for $427 million up front.
Although that was only 44 percent of the construction cost, the team was also to pay $13 million a year in capital reserves and operations.
The conference committee report also gives Vikings owner Zygi Wilf the exclusive rights to a Major League Soccer franchise for five years. The team would play at the new stadium. The Senate stripped out that language last night.
It isn't clear how the night will proceed. Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said a conference committee on the bill is more likely to meet at 11pm tonight not at its scheduled 9pm. The Conference Committee has to sign off on the bill before it is sent to the House and Senate.
The House had hoped to pass the conference committee tonight. The Senate is expected to pass the conference committee report tomorrow.4 Comments)