MPR’s Curtis Gilbert and Jon Collins report that the Minneapolis City Council is not on board with all the triumphalistic high-fiving from the Administration on the Dayton/Rybak stadium plan, as I noted yesterday.
The proposal would peel money away from the part of the city’s (exorbitant) sales taxes that currently support the Convention Center, which under city charter requires a referendum – which, as you recall, was so effective in stopping the taxpayers from being shaken down to build Target Field:
Gary Schiff championed the charter amendment back when he was executive director of the political organization then-called Progressive Minnesota. Now he is a member of the City Council and he said if city money is involved, then the referendum is not negotiable.
“I could never support a plan that circumvents city law,” Schiff said. “I won’t break the law. I’ve sworn to the law as an office holder. And I’m not going to break the city charter.”
Council Member Cam Gordon, who represents areas around the University of Minnesota, said he still opposes the plan because his impression is that it ignores the requirement to hold a referendum.
“I have a concern that ultimately, it’s probably going to be a judge who’ll have to make this decision. Apparently there’s lawyers, maybe in the city, the Vikings, the governor’s office, who are all working on the rationale to make the arguments that this doesn’t violate the charter,” Gordon said. “But there’s probably other lawyers who could read the exact same rules and ordinances and statutes and say it is violating the charter, and so it may end up going to court.”
Council Member Robert Lilligren said he is “philosophically opposed” to public funding for stadiums. He wants a referendum, but he stops short of vowing to vote no on the plan.
“It’s clear that if the legislature wants to see this stadium plan go forward, they will need to write into legislation a way of circumventing the charter amendment,” Lilligren said.
Council Member Lisa Goodman also opposes the stadium plan. Council Members Elizabeth Glidden, Sandy Colvin Roy and Betsy Hodges previously opposed the stadium plan, although they haven’t yet commented on the current package.
So half of Dayton, Rybak and the Downtown Brotherhood’s plan relies on a tax diversion that may be illegal – as I reported yesterday.
As to the other half? The mainstreams haven’t quite twigged to the fact that the Dayton-Bakk proposal to divert money from the state’s charitable gambling industry relies on some unsupportable figures; it assumes a doubling in charitable gambling receipts, even though as Gary Gross notes, charitable gambling revenues are trending down, not up.
And the tribes haven’t spoken out publicly yet. But they will.
So – two takeaways:
- The “Deal” is a turkey.
- MPR has given you yesterdays’ “Shot In The Dark” today.