One tax committee member’s stadium thoughts

Senator Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, is as opposed to the current stadium deal as anyone at the Capitol.

He’s author of a rival bill, to loan the Vikings the money and let the team pay for it. “I’m not against a stadium,” he says. “I just don’t think we should take the first offer.”

He’s also one of eight Republicans on the Senate tax committee, where he expects, as he has before, to oppose the deal.

“We want a stadium,” Chamberlain says. “We want a better deal. That’s all we want. Anybody who thinks that Chamberlain and his colleagues don’t want a stadium deal, want the Vikings to leave, they’re absolutely wrong.”

He says it’s the taxes that are the problem — taxes on new gambling. “Last year we didn’t push tax increases for any reason,” Chamberain says. “This year, the governor and others are pushing for tax increases and voting for tax increases and exploitive gaming to support a billionaire. They’re taxing and taking from the poor to support a billionaire. They’re taxing and taking from the poor to give to the rich. We want a stadium deal, but I want a better deal for the state of Minnesota, and we can get a better deal.”

That said, he thinks the Vikings stadium is going to make it through the tax committee.

“I think they’ll work it to get the votes,” Chamberlain says. “They’ve worked it through the system so far, giving things to folks, whether its charitable gaming, or the Xcel Center, or the unions, or particular wards or precincts in Minneapolis.”

UPDATE:

It looks like the stadium odds on the tax committee might be pretty good.

A quick scour of the campaign website of DFLer Ann Rest (a Tax committee member) finds this nugget:

“I am a sports fan and wish all our teams well. I enjoy outdoor baseball at Target Field, but I did not vote for the ballpark proposal. I do not support state financing of a new stadium for the Vikings, including using resources from new gambling revenues. Every legislator should have the opportunity and responsibility to vote on the Senate or House floor on the stadium proposal. I will not deny members that vote through action in any committee that I sit on. My focus will be to protect taxpayer interests in this venture.” April 18,2012

Also, freshman Senator John Howe, R-Red Wing, just told MPR’s Tim Pugmire that he is a yes, at least on the tax committee.

“I want to see it get to the floor,” he said. He wouldn’t commit to what he’d do there, however.

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