When I wrote this post last week, I questioned why Gov. Dayton and Sen. Bakk would propose to build a Vikings Stadium on the proceeds from charitable gaming. This post questions the wisdom of policymaking based on a volatile funding mechanism.
Last week, I cited a 2009 House Research study. That study said that after tax profits from charitable gambling topped $1,500,000,000 in 2000. That study showed that those profits had dropped to $1,032,000,000 in 2008.
With those statistics in mind, the question must be asked why Sen. Bakk, the former Senate Tax Committee chairman, would propose funding a billion dollar project on such a volatile, unreliable funding source.
Does he think that Ryan Winkler is going to sprinkle pixie dust on e-tabs and suddenly the revenues will explode? Sen. Bakk’s proposal is as much guesswork as it is high finance.
What’s worse, as I explained in last week’s post, is that e-tabs will hurt charitable gambling, hurting everything from high school marching bands and hockey teams to local civic clubs.
This is, without a doubt, the worst stadium proposal ever put together. Therein lies the catch. It isn’t even legislation.
If Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and others don’t fix the problem with charitable gambling interests, there will be an intense lobbying effort to stop this type of proposal. It’s the type of fight politicians don’t need heading into an uncertain election cycle.
That’s before considering the fact that the Minneapolis City Council has to approve of the proposal. That, by itself, will take time to get the votes together.
Factor in the Legislature taking its annual Easter break and you’re down to a little less than a month to send the stadium bill through all of the committees with jurisdiction in both the House and Senate and you’re pretty much looking at a doomed deal, at least without a special session.
In short, the likelihood of a stadium vote happening this year are remote. That’s as it should be with a proposal with this flimsy of a funding mechanism.
Gov. Dayton and Sen. Bakk should be ashamed for proposing and approving the plan.