For over thirty years Minnesota legislators and local officials have stumbled and bumbled their way through a half dozen taxpayer funded stadium deals. Now as the 2013 legislative session draws to a close they are about to commit yet one more in a long list of stadium building blunders. This time it’s not the billion dollar football palace for the New Jersey developer Zgyi Wilf, but rather just a small $50 million dollar ballpark in St. Paul. This latest stadium blunder started last year when the state legislature set up an economic development slush fund which allowed Gov. Dayton to pick the winners. In this multi-million dollar give away Gov. Dayton picked his political ally Mayor Chris Coleman to receive $25 million in state taxpayer funds to construct a new ballpark for the St. Paul Saints in downtown St. Paul.
The day after Dayton announced the $25 million award to St. Paul for the ballpark, Mayor Chris Coleman awarded a no bid design build contract for the project. The Mayor’s hasty and illegal actions brought a lawsuit to require a competitive bidding process.
Gov. Dayton then met with his friend Mayor Coleman and suggested that St. Paul should allow an open bidding process. The city then preceded to set-up a sham of a competitive bid process and three months later awarded the contract to the same construction company it previously selected.
By Phil Krinkie
Over the last few months Gov. Dayton and now Attorney General Lori Swanson have made it clear that if you are a small business owner, a larger corporation or even a major philanthropist, you are not welcome in Minnesota. The not welcome here parade started in January when Gov. Mark Dayton released his “tax reform” plan. The Governor’s tax reform plan proposed to add sales to all business to business transactions. His plan drew instant objection from businesses large and small across the state. Because no other state in the country imposes an across the board sales tax on business to business services many companies started to consider the possibility of relocating to another state.
But it wasn’t just Dayton’s business to business tax that got people thinking about relocation. Governor Dayton has also proposed increasing taxes on people who reside outside of the state for more than six months. His so called “snowbird” tax would levy tax penalties on individuals who often want to escape our Minnesota winters and our high tax climate for more weather and tax friendly locations.