Dayton: All of Minnesota to blame for Vikings gambling revenue fiasco

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has moved on from blaming his own gambling board for not telling him how they came up with outrageously optimistic gambling revenue projections, to saying that it shouldn’t be about blaming anybody for the Vikings stadium mess:

“We’re all in this together,” Dayton said Tuesday. “We’re all responsible for its creation.” He said it is far too soon to panic about whether the electronic games will eventually cover the state’s share of the new stadium.

“We’ll work this out,” Dayton said. “It’s not about pointing fingers about what happened last spring. … Unless somebody can prove conclusively otherwise, I would say everybody — the Gambling Control Board, the Department of Revenue, the Legislature, Republicans and Democrats, and my administration — everybody acted in good faith, and has applied their best judgment to a totally unprecedented situation.”

Right, because nobody could possibly have predicted that an untested gambling scheme wouldn’t actually bring in $62.5 million a year OH WAIT:

After a two-hour-long hearing where the bill was savaged both by charitable gambling groups worried that they’ll lose money if electronic pulltab gambling is approved to fund the stadium, and legislators worried that Gov. Mark Dayton’s estimate that pulltabs would generate $62.5 million a year was pulled out of thin air, the bill was abruptedly pulled from discussion for retooling.

Of course, the bill was just as abruptly unpulled from retooling when the NFL commissioner flew into town and threatened that the Vikings would move to a new stadium in L.A. You know, the L.A. stadium that totally isn’t happening now. But in any case, all the concerns about overstated gambling revenue projections were brushed aside by the plan’s sponsors, and now here the state is, with a massive budget hole and no way to fill it.

Still, all Minnesotans are equally to blame here: the Gambling Control Board, Republicans, Democrats, people who voted for the stadium bill, people who warned it would be a disaster… Because it’s not about blame now, it’s about pulling together to find a solution. And what does Dayton suggest?

Dayton said the state will “push hard to get these games throughout the state … people who play them say they’re really a lot of fun, and more fun than paper pulltabs. And once we get the charities going, I think this will get up to speed, and we’ll see where we stand.”

With solutions like these, maybe blaming people doesn’t sound so bad after all.

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5 comments on “Dayton: All of Minnesota to blame for Vikings gambling revenue fiasco

  1. “a massive budget hole and no way to fill it”

    There’s always a way to fill a budget hole, it’s called “taxpayers.” Which has pretty much been the plan all along, wouldn’t you say? Did any of the pols who voted for this thing really believe that those pulltab things would pay for a stadium? Seriously?

  2. Sweet. And if telling people how cool they look gambling doesn’t work, people in Minnesota can expect their state tax return to be an access code for e-pull tabs.

  3. That’s a great idea Joe! Instead of refunding money to taxpayers (who, hey, probably would waste it gambling or on smokes or booze or something counter productive), just issue them preloaded debit cards good only in… ummm… gambling institutions.

    I just love how politicians who have been warned (both publicly and privately, as Neil pointed out) that their revenue projections are wildly inaccurate; who trigger legislation designed solely to circumvent accountability legislation they’ve previously imposed; and who vote against overwhelming public response to approve a terrible deal for taxpayers can then suggest “We’re all in this together”.

    No, actually. We aren’t. Because the vast majority of citizens who are going to end up paying for this debacle (many of whom haven’t been born yet) aren’t going to be the beneficiary of cozy business opportunities from developers and team owners. Nor do the vast majority have an indexed taxpayer funded pension provided by the state. Nor do “we” create a small number of very wealthy and highly grateful friends who are the beneficiaries of the “looted” Minnesota treasury.

    No Sir, “We” are not in this together. If we were, you would never have voted to put yourself in this position. But somehow, it’s ok when you can do this to the people who actually elected you, rather than the very wealthy minority who’s favour you desire.

  4. Governor Dayton’s comments reminds me of the “let’s not quibble about whom killed whom” scene in Monty Python’s Holy Grail.

  5. Let me just pull my head out of the taxpayer slop-trough to say how cool it is that our public extortion playbook and purchase of Governor Dayton and other local elected humps worked to perfection on this one.

    Once again we sold a total sham funding scheme, buttressed by our time-tested “move to L.A.” con game, to a bunch of hack pols who ignored their constituents every step of the way to deliver a big fat public payday to us NFL owners.

    All I can say is, YEEHAW!!

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