Rybak: Don’t expect Minneapolis to make good on state’s e-pulltab bet

Rybak pitches stadium plan in 2012 (MPR Photo/Tim Nelson)

First the good news: Minneapolis hospitality tax revenues for last year came out about $4 million ahead of budget expectations.

That money comes from hotel, food and drink taxes downtown, and most of it helps pay for the Minneapolis Convention Center. But some of it will eventually go to the new Vikings stadium and the Target Center renovation.

Which brings us to the bad news: The city’s partner on the stadium–the state of Minnesota–is coming up short on its end of the Vikings stadium deal. Electronic pulltab proceeds are coming at pennies on the expected dollar in a much-slower-than-expected rollout.

So, will the state be tempted by that budget surplus in Minneapolis?

“It’s not a surplus. It’s very important to not use the word surplus,” Rybak says. “It’s more than we budgeted. The city of Minneapolis is generating new revenue. But we always said that in the years when we realized more, we’d bank that so we’d be able to withstand down years.”

City council member Gary Schiff suggested at a mayoral debate yesterday that he’d like to re-open the Vikings stadium deal if he wins the corner office in City Hall, presumably with an eye toward pushing back on the state’s deal.

But rival council member Betsy Hodges seems to already feel the cold eye of the state turning to Minneapolis. “My fear is that somewhere down the road, they’re going to come knocking at the city’s door to say ‘We’re going to need you to kick in more to save the Vikings and save the stadium,'” Hodges said during the debate. “When I’m mayor, the answer to that question will be, ‘no.'”

Back at City Hall, the incumbent mayor was already playing defense.

“Anybody can propose anything,” Rybak said in an interview, when asked if he was worried the Legislature might be tempted to reach into the pocket of the stadium’s host city for a little extra cash. “I sat with leaders of both parties and said I would develop a strong fiscal plan that would withstand the test of time. We did that, and I would assume that no one would mess that up.”

Or, in other words, a deal’s a deal, as far as the mayor is concerned:

“The state came up with its share, it my job was to come up with ours. Our package took a conservative estimate, because we know that sales taxes are extremely volatile. We’re proud that our plan is showing to be conservative and ahead of budget, and we are doing with it exactly what I promised.”

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  • logicaltoo

    NO. :)

  • PaulJ

    I get bombarded by so much promotion, that I need a certain amount of negativity just to be on the safe side.

  • James

    Nixname – you are a punny guy, Michael.

  • Jim G

    Negativity is a big concept… too big to answer positively. For most Americans our economic fortunes have been trending negative… or to put it another way, we’ve been running on a negative treadmill for decades now. I guess what goes around… comes around.

  • kevins

    Optimism saves lives and promotes health, but my sense is that negativity is as old as the tribes we evolved from…Ah, I can picture it…a FOX news caveperson, cloaked in a three piece hair-robe, etching anti-Obama symbols on a rock just inside the MSN caveperson’s territory…the fight is on!

    • Gary F

      Or Carrie Lucking of Alliance for a Better Minnesota! She’s dumping on people the minute she finds out they are running. Just follow her tweets!

      • JQP

        you empower those you follow … ERK !!! what have I done.

  • Sue de Nim

    Peale-esque positive thinking and reactionary negative thinking are equal and opposite mistakes. If it’s currently fashionable to be negative, that’s just a pendulum swing. I try to question all biases.

  • JQP

    Nope – we are just more aware of it.

    its rather like climate change and we’re all frogs.
    Who turned the burner on ??
    Us ??? Gad Zooks.

  • Jeff

    This is a tough one to answer…if I say No then I’m being negative by saying no (while disagreeing with the point)…meanwhile saying Yes would imply that we are in fact all negative by answering in the affirmative…far too confusing.

    • JQP

      sort of like the old…
      have you stopped cheating on your spouse ?
      No … oh so still at it.
      Yes … of so you did cheat.

  • lindblomealges

    We Americans, to me, are not negative, but they have lost the ability to analyze complex issues and circumstances, and they continue to insist on having a divided America instead of a collaborative America. Our national, statewide, and local problems can not be solved simply by saying no to spending. Suggesting no more spending is the only answer is like saying I refuse to pay my heating bill in Minnesota even though there are nights where the temperature is below 32 degrees. Likewise, suggesting Group A isn’t working their fare share or shouldn’t get help because I didn’t isn’t much different than having whites at the front of the bus, blacks at the back regardless of what’s happening. The truth is America HAS BEEN A MELTING POT ONLY ONCE in our history and that began during the 1970s. The rest of American History has been socially, economically, geographically, and racially segregated. The same holds true with respect to government spending. There has NEVER been a time in our history where Americans DIDN’T spend money to solve its problems EXCEPT during the Articles of Confederation, the one true time that the States controlled everything, and that RESULTED IN A COLLOSSAL FAILURE. But, rather than analyze our history and our current problems, we keep looking for the quick divisive ignorant solution and problems just can’t be solved that way no matter how much technology, deficit, founding father doctrine, we throw at it. We’re past the point of just making one man’s solution the end all be all for millions of others.

  • John

    No. For example, I am positive our country will go to war with Syria and I am positive that it was the rebels that used the gas on the people not the government of Syria. I am positive this is the same news media storm that told us that Iraq had WMD.

  • tjupnorth

    America became a great country with millions of immigrants who came with a “Can Do”
    attitude and a great work ethic. They chose leaders with a vision for a brighter future, and the courage to do new things and the good sense to fix problems. Together they educated the masses, settled a huge country, built the infrastructure, ended slavery, and gave every American the right to vote and pursue the American dream. As President Kennedy said “Ask not what your country can do for you, Ask what you can do for your country.

    We have now come to a time where the theme is “Can’t Do”, where whining and opposition and tearing down have become ever so pervasive. To many of our leaders are working to diminish America, to promote division, to play special interest games that separate haves and have nots, and protect priviledge at the expense of better tomorrow. There ar no better examples of this than John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, naysayers pretending to be leaders who work tirelessly to diminish America.

    It is time for those of us who believe in the promise of America to rise and stamp out negativism where ever it appears. And that includes asking candidates at every level what they will do to contribute to a “Can Do” America! If there answer is

    “my ideology” or ‘my opponent is so bad you ahve to chose me” – don’t let them have your vote!

    We can change this disasterous negativism and get America working again!