Minnesota. The Ultimate Shangri-La. Who Knew.

From Friday's paper. I may have added a few things:


ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Vikings moved to within a governor's signature of getting a new $975 million stadium today after the state Senate approved a plan that relies heavily on public financing.

Gov. Mark Dayton, who presides over a state where evidently every last pothole has been filled, has said he'll sign the measure, because no one can possibly think of anything else to do with hundreds of millions of dollars of public money, meaning the Senate's 36-30 vote was effectively the final barrier for the stadium. The House passed it overnight.

The bill's passage came as a relief to the state's teachers, who according to union spokesman Blake Peters, were concerned their salaries might be raised to the level of engineers, investment bankers, or perhaps even advertising executives.

"No way we're worth as much as those guys." Peters said in an interview after the vote. I'm just glad the talent currently going into those professions won't be tempted to set foot in any classrooms."

The team would pay 49 percent of construction costs: $477 million, which is $50 million more than owners initially committed. But the public expense is still high: $348 million for the state and $150 million for the city of Minneapolis.

That's $498,000,000 to create about 90 high paying jobs.

The issue created a rare moment of bipartisan harmony as the state's liberal activists reported that every poverty stricken child now had adequate nutrition, housing, and after school programs, the state's parks could not possibly be any more well maintained at twice their annual budget, and drug rehabilitation and vocational training programs in every prison had three times as many openings as applicants. Likewise, Bud Matthews of the conservative think tank Minnesotans for Economic Growth issued a statement that read in part, "We're totally not interested in any tax cuts. Our entrepreneurs have everything they need to continue to create jobs and maintain our strong economy. Our priority should and must be pouring our resources into making sure a ball gets pushed across a chalk line."

After the Senate vote, jubilant Vikings vice president Lester Bagley hugged another team official and shouted, "Let's build it!" Vikings fans broke out singing the "Skol Vikings" fight song and the Senate president admonished them to take it outside the chamber.   

That was real. I didn't make up a single word in that last paragraph.

Economists generally applauded the move, seeing it as avoiding a repeat of the 5-year long recession that followed the Minnesota Lakers move to Los Angeles and the pain of  losing the Minnesota North Stars, which might have played hockey, or maybe soccer. We're not really sure.

At press time, a motion to allow taxpayers not interested in buying a ticket to a football game one complimentary look at the new stadium was expected to fail.


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Minnesota. The Ultimate Shangri-La. Who Knew.
Minnesota. The Ultimate Shangri-La. Who Knew.
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