Dayton: Don’t rush to judgment on electronic pulltabs, Vikings stadium funding

MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson

DFL Governor Mark Dayton says the criticism about the less-than-expected gambling revenue needed to fund the state share of a new Vikings stadium is premature and politically motivated.

Republican critics like state Sen. Sean Nienow (R-Cambridge) have called for an investigation into the miscalculation. But Dayton said an investigation would be a waste of taxpayer money.

“What is there to investigate? I mean there were honest assumptions made. If somebody thinks there was wrongdoing then they should definitely produce the evidence that would support that.” Dayton said in comments during a question-and-answer session in his office today. “Otherwise, it’s slow getting off to a start. Everybody agrees with that. We missed the projections. Everybody agrees with that. We’re working to correct it.”

Jeff Johnson
(Henn. Co. photo)

He also responded to criticism of the stadium financing plan, leveled by Hennepin County commissioner Jeff Johnson in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. In an op-ed, Johnson asked whether the state’s health insurance exchange would prove equally disappointing as the stadium plan.

“I think he’s running for governor. I get more and more of that, now,” Dayton said. “It’s started. It’s, you know, a year and a half away… there will be a lot of increasingly politically motivated raps, but I can take it.”

Johnson told MPR last November he was weighing a run for governor.

Dayton also repeated his assertion that the stadium financing will work out in the end. He says the stadium law already spells out a funding alternative, and that there’s no reason for the legislature to make further changes to the plan.

“You know, there’s a backup of the surcharge on the suites, and also another gambling game, a lottery themed after the Vikings… I think this rush to judgement is very premature…A year from now, we’ll have a firm basis to decide whether this is going to be sufficient as a source of funding, after it gets going, after we’ve got public acceptance around the state.”