Hoppe and the Stadium: Having it both ways

After the Taxpayers League of Minnesota blasted him for being an author on the Minnesota Vikings stadium bill, Rep. Joe Hoppe has responded, giving the following statement to the Chanhassen Villager:

“The Vikings stadium bill that has been introduced is a placeholder. A starting point in case the Vikings come up with a local partner and a viable plan this session.”

“The Governor will have to be the leader on this issue. He needs to be the one meeting with the Vikings’ ownership, Ted Mondale and any local partner.”

“I am a co-author of this legislation because I am the chair of the Commerce committee in the House. I have been involved in this issue for the last year or so as the Republican House designee.”

“My main focus has been to make sure that there were no general fund revenues involved. I am trying to make it so that the users of any stadium would be the ones that pay for it. Surcharges on tickets and suites for example would be some of my preferred ways to pay for any state portion. In other words, if you don’t go to the stadium it costs you nothing.”

Let’s examine Hoppe’s statement.  Hoppe tried to make it sounds as if his position as Chair of the Commerce Committee dictates his involvement as an author on the bill.  It does not.  There have been 127 bills referred to the Commerce Committee this session, and Hoppe is not an author on all of them. 

Hoppe is clearly trying to have it both ways here — he’s authoring the bill but won’t state if he supports it or not.    He’s also trying to wipe away the Legislature’s responsibility to develop the legislation that would be required to pass a bill.  After all, if it were solely the Governor’s responsibility, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf wouldn’t have needed to visit with legislators yesterday.

The fact that Legislative Republicans, including Hoppe, worked for months on crafting this bill before introducing it implies that they think they’ve done their homework and have a workable framework.  It’s reasonable to assume, then, that if Hoppe has his name on the bill, that he supports it.  If Hoppe does not support the bill, he should state it unequivocally.

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