The Minnesota legislature, exhibiting the type of procrastination of which my 13-year-old son would be proud, waited until the final weeks of its annual session to take up the thorny issue of finding funding for two thirds of the proposed new stadium for the Vikings. (The team will pay the other 33 percent.)
A bipartisan bill was introduced with much fanfare on Monday. On Tuesday night, the bill emerged successfully from one of the many committees that will apply its fingerprints to the measure. On Wednesday morning, however, a House committee killed the bill by a razor-thin margin of 10-9. Later, a Senate committee passed a version that raises the extra 66.6 percent via Personal Seat Licenses.
Mike Kaszuba and Pat Doyle of the Minneapolis Star Tribune take a look at the events of the past few days, painting a portrait of a provision that has encountered plenty of opposition and that quite likely won’t be successful before the session adjourns.
Our suggestion? Governor Tim Pawlenty should call a “special session” for July or August, with the goal of getting the issue resolved once and for all, with the alternative to a new stadium being, most likely, a new owner for the team — and then a new city in a new state.
Surely, the politicians in Minnesota are smart enough to know that, eventually, the Vikings will leave absent the kind of facility that will allow them to be truly competitive, on a financial basis, with the other 31 NFL franchises.
So unless and until the political powers-that-be prove to us that they realize the stakes of the poker game they’re playing with a treasured state asset perched in the middle of the green-felted table, we’re getting ready for the Vikings to join the NFC West and the Rams to land in the NFC North.