Last night, the House Government Operations and Elections committee voted down the current Minnesota Vikings stadium proposal by a 9-6 count, effectively ending the stadium discussion for this session. Five of nine GOP reps voted yes, while one of six DFL reps voted yes on the proposal.
After the failure of the bill, an epic finger-pointing match broke out on Twitter. Check it out if you care. Here are a couple of tweets that get to the core of the dispute:
5 out of 9 GOP members vote yes. Only 1 of 6 Dem members vote yes. Dems think hurting MN is the way 2 get them 2 majority. Dems will fail.—
Rep. Pat Garofalo (@PatGarofalo) April 17, 2012
You can see where this is leading. If only folks at the legislature could gin up this sort of energy to work on our crumbling transportation infrastructure or any number of other problems that have gone unaddressed… But I digress.
I’m not going to pass judgment on the stadium bill itself. Like most stadium proposals, reasonable people from either side of the aisle can look at it and find reasons to support it or reasons to oppose it. What’s not acceptable is not finding a way to bring this never-ending saga to a conclusion once and for all.
It’s time for politicians to stop trying to have it both ways. Too many legislators claim to support the Vikings, but always find reasons to vote against a bill for this reason or that. Yet many of these same legislators have no new ideas for financing the facility.
This bill has its warts, but it’s the only bill will any substantial level of legislative support. It’s time for them to vote — on the record — on the floors of the Minnesota House and the Minnesota Senate. Vote Yes or Vote No. Let the chips fall where they may.
As a little kid who ran around the backyard wearing a Fran Tarkenton jersey, it’s hard for me to come to grips with the notion that the Vikings may leave the state. But the team — like it or not — has done what it was asked to do. It went out and got a local partner (Ramsey County), only to have the Legislature reject that funding package. The team then worked with Governor Mark Dayton, Minneapolis city officials, and legislators to develop the current package, which includes a comparable team contribution to previous stadium deals. They deserve an up-or-down vote. And if the answer is “no”, then they should be free to to pursue options that include moving the team.
Finger-point if you will, legislative Republicans and Democrats. Blame each other from here through November and beyond. But if the team leaves, know that the fingers that really will be pointing will be our fingers at you.