Debate over new taxes to support building a new football stadium for the Minnesota Vikings is entering a critical phase as lawmakers decide what role tax payers should or should not have in funding the nearly $1 billion project.
Divisions are emerging among Minnesota’s big city mayors. If, as the leading plan proposes, Ramsey County enacts a half-cent sales tax increase then St. Paul would have the highest sales tax of any city in the state. It’s a distinction Mayor Chris Coleman is trying to avoid.
“They’re the Minnesota Vikings, they’re called that for a reason,” said Coleman. “If this is Minnesota’s team, then it’s Minnesota’s responsibility to figure out a way to make this thing work.”
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak continues to work on his plan to keep the team in his city.
Further outside of the Twin Cities metro area, the editorial board of the Duluth News Tribune writes that the stadium is a good idea, since Duluthians won’t have to pay for it unless they buy a jersey or go to a game.
In St. Paul, Joe Soucheray, a columnist for the Pioneer Press, comes to the opposite conclusion and says the stadium isn’t worth tax dollars. Part of his beef is the design of the Arden stadium.
The nearly $1 billion proposal to build a new stadium in Arden Hills includes language that would prevent the project from being put to a public vote. Members of a group opposed to the plan say they want to force a vote by changing city charters. City charters, used in both St. Paul and Minneapolis, are constitutional-style documents that determine how the city operates. The Star Tribune reports that opponents believe that if they get enough signatures to call for a vote on new wording within the charters that they could block tax dollars from going to build the stadium.
Even if you don’t get to have your say at the legislature, or if the charter proposals don’t go anywhere, Insight Now is hosting two economists on opposite sides of the debate over public subsidies of sports teams. Join the conversation and help shape the debate.
Also clicking on MN Today
The death of Derek Boogaard
Boogaard’s family will donate brain for concussion research
A concussion ended Derek Boogaard’s 2010-11 season early, but the family did not want to suggest concussions led to his death at age 28 (Star Tribune).
Blog Box: Boogaard Memorial a chance to say goodbye
On the table were flowers, pictures, and signs left by fans. Heartfelt words and condolences from the Boogaard’s Minnesota family (Hockey Wilderness).
Video of Boogaard’s last goal.
Minnesota House passes revised gun bill
The Republican-controlled House voted 79-50 for the bill, which would broaden what’s considered a “dwelling” and reverses the burden of proof in cases of self-defense from the defender to the prosecution. Dwellings would include such places as vehicles, garages and temporary residences (Pioneer Press).
What Minnesotans think — Public Insight: Should the state change gun laws to expand the right to self-defense?
Anglers finding fish despite cold, rainy weather
Last year’s sunny skies for the first day of walleye season had many anglers not caring whether or not they caught fish. But despite the cold, wet climate of this year’s opener, many fishermen did not come home empty handed (Bemidji Pioneer).
Walleye opener brings rain, wind, cold and optimism (Rochester Post Bulletin)
For a drizzly fishing opener, metro-area lakes hold plenty of promise (Pioneer Press)
Leech pushes the limits (Brainerd Dispatch)
Minnesota fishing opener a cold one [Photo gallery] Mankato Free Press
Our own great lakes
Top Ten area lakes to consider for your fishing destination (Marshall Independent).
Editorial: State’s fishing relies on you
It takes a lot of money to manage the state’s lakes, streams, and rivers. Maintaining those waters and the fish that inhabit them comes with a price tag of about $35 million annually (St. Cloud Times).
FBI: Minnesota has serious human trafficking problem
Minnesota is one of the worst places in the country when it comes to human trafficking, according to the FBI. Studies show an average of 100 girls under the age of 18 in Minnesota are sold into sex traffic every month (WCCO).
Times tough for Minn. teens searching for jobs
Michael Gonzalez is like a lot of other teens this spring. He’s looking for a summer job but hasn’t had a lot of success (Brainerd Dispatch).
Minnesota ranks 8th for dog bite insurance claims
Each year, almost five million people are bitten or attacked by dogs (Echo Press).
Northlanders build pipe organ masterpiece
One of the world’s leading pipe organ builders is a Northlander but his latest creation is staying right here at home.Dave Anderson let’s us listen to a thirty foot tall music machine that will keep one Duluth congregation singing for centuries (Northland News).
MLB Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew a giant among men
Over the years, Major League Baseball would never confirm the silhouette’s identity. But Harmon Killebrew always knew the truth. The logo is him (USA Today).