Dayton Tax Veto Imperils Vikings Stadium Says GOP

Principle or politics? Governor Mark Dayton has been trying to walk the fine line between the two as Minnesota’s legislative session winds down. But on Friday the Governor went heavily with principle and imperiled the politics of his top legislative priority — thousands of jobs from building a new Vikings football stadium.

Governor Mark Dayton vetoed a Republican backed tax bill because it would blow a hole in the state’s budget with tax cuts to businesses that weren’t offset someplace else. In his veto news conference the Governor chided Republicans for being fiscally irresponsible.

Republicans touted the tax relief in the bill as job creation. Democrats and the Governor pointed at the hard facts: the bill didn’t guarantee the creation of a single job. It broadly gave businesses property tax relief, including corporations such as McDonald’s restaurants, but had no incentives for the business to hire anyone. The tax relief would just go to the corporate bottom line.

Veto angers Republicans who say there will be “consequences”

The Governor’s veto visibly angered Republican legislative leaders who tried to make it sound like the Governor had “disrespected” the entire legislature by vetoing the tax bill and several other bills that Republicans had labeled as job creation and government reform. However, at least a dozen of the bills Dayton has vetoed this session were thinly veiled rewrites of “model legislation” from a right-wing business group known as ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) which large corporations such as McDonald’s, Pepsi and Kraft have been abandoning because of consumer boycotts.

Republican Senate leader Julianne Ortman said the Governor may have burned his last bridge with the legislature and there would be “consequences”. But Democrats stood by the Governor’s veto.

“In this tax bill Republicans made it crystal clear that corporations and big businesses are their top priority. But cutting taxes for corporations and big businesses while ignoring homeowners, seniors and farmers is the wrong priority. Governor Dayton made the right choice for Minnesota’s future by vetoing it,” said House Minority Leader Paul Thissen in a press release.

The “consequences” for the Governor may be defeat for the two bills he is touting as job creation. Dayton will need Republican support to pass both a Vikings stadium which some Democrats oppose because it is a huge giveaway of public dollars to billionaire Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and a bonding bill which requires a super majority of the legislature.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers has indicated he will not vote for the stadium, but will let it come up for a vote in the House on Monday. Speaker Zellers’ had to clarify the comments he made to a sports radio station about the stadium. He said his “head got ahead of his mouth” and he misspoke during the Thursday radio interview. He wants the Minnesota Vikings to stay, but he doesn’t support the current Vikings Stadium bill and will not vote for it. He says denying Governor Dayton a victory on the Vikings stadium would be “petty” and “small”.

Meanwhile, stadium backers are preparing for Monday’s House stadium vote. “Monday is game day and its a game we intend to win,” says Metropolitian Sports Facility Commission Chair Ted Mondale. The legislative engineers behind the Vikings stadium proposal walked through it for the press on Friday in advance of Monday’s scheduled House vote. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said the bill isn’t perfect, but is a good example of a “bipartisan group solving a big tough issue.” Bill author Senator Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont) says as other lawmakers have examined the bill they tell her it’s a good bill. “It will pass. You don’t work on a bill this hard to have it fail.”

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Metropolitan Sports Facilities Chair Ted Mondale and other stakeholders brief the media on the stadium legislation headed to the floor of the House and Senate on Monday.

Following the briefing, Republican legislative leaders hold a news conference about Governor Mark Dayton’s veto of the tax bill.


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