August 27, 2004
I don't know why I do it. I get my hopes up, and, as always, they are quickly dashed. God bless the Mille Lacs band of Ojibwe, but no matter how much sense their plan makes it probably won't result in any stadiums. Why am I so pessimistic? Pawlenty has already played the priorities card:
Pawlenty said Benjamin's letter "may set the table for more productive talks'' on revenue sharing. He said if the talks were to produce revenue for state projects, he believes there would be higher priorities than building stadiums.
That, in a nutshell, is Pawlenty's view on stadiums in Minnesota: they are not and should not be a state priority. A community priority? Sure, if St. Paul wants to build a new stadium they can raise the money to do it. But the state should be minimally involved. Truthfully when you look at the type of deal the state could probably reach with the tribes they could easily build two stadiums and still have tons of money left over. According to the Star Tribune article on this topic Wisconsin tribes have agreed to pay $200 million to the state over the next two years. One could surmise that a new deal will be struck after two years that will probably increase the state's take. Heck, we could build three stadiums and still have $100 - $150 million left over every two years with a deal like that in Minnesota.
However, a budget deficit looms on the horizon in Minnesota:
Thursday's developments came as the state faces a new budget deficit estimated at up to $1 billion for the 2005-07 fiscal cycle. That has led to speculation that, given political resistance to raising taxes, gambling revenues -- from Indians or non-Indians -- will make up a significant portion of the budget solution reached by the 2005 Legislature.
Wow. Does anyone else get a little twitchy when we may need to use gambling proceeds to make up significant portions of our state budget? That is a very slippery slope that I would hope we wouldn't rely on too much. It makes so much more sense to use this development to take care of our never-ending stadium debate:
- Stadiums could be built without any state or local taxes.
- It takes the stadium debate out of the legislature. Negotiations would be between the tribes and the teams.
- The state legislature could finally focus on more important issues.
- The state would not build any unhealthy reliance on gambling money.
- The tribes who participate would be viewed as saviors to many in the state for finally solving this sticky issue.
Can anyone think of any other reasons why this is, or isn't, a good idea? The Vikings have already said they are willing to negotiate, and even though the Twins have not replied with the same excitement, I think they would come around if the tribes promised large amounts of cash. Again, as I said above, I shouldn't get my hopes up, but I will keep a close eye on this development that is for sure.
Posted by snackeru at August 27, 2004 9:03 AM | Stadiums
I blink at the ethics of twisting Tribes' arms for any gaming money. That said, I'd much rather see it spent on something for the community (like stadiums) than see it drown in the general fund!
Posted by: Carl / Qwerty at August 28, 2004 2:06 AM
If the tribes end up substantially funding the stadiums, will they want the teams named after them? So you'd have good Indian names and bad Indian names.
Posted by: oldstuffer at August 30, 2004 10:38 PM
I don't think they would rename the teams, but I could see them naming the stadiums, that is for sure. "Ojibwe Field" or "Mystic Lake Stadium" would not be out of the realm of possibility. I wouldn't really care though. They could name them anything they want as long as they build them.
Posted by: Shane at August 31, 2004 9:14 AM