Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders were meeting Wednesday to try to find solutions to issues bedeviling the current session. On the table is a bonding bill, a Vikings stadium plan and tax breaks for businesses to boost the economy and jobs. As you might expect, there is agreement on none of this.
But ... there is the possibility of some easy, realistic solutions, as we see it.
Dayton is adamant that a Vikings stadium plan worked out over the past several months be given an up-or-down vote in the Republican-controlled Legislature. The trouble there is that both Republicans and Democrats are expressing doubts, for various reasons. We do agree with the governor that 11th-hour changes to the stadium plan do not seem wise or helpful. However, if lawmakers see a problem with financing the stadium under the original plan, we don't see why they can't put the state's contribution in the bonding bill.
The bonding bill is funding for state infrastructure projects, from roads, to bridges, to renovating college campuses, to a whole host of other priorities. State governments are now intricately involved in stadium building, with the stadiums used to host a variety of events year-round. If Minnesota is going to accept this reality, then why not simply sell bonds for its share of the stadium?
Finally, the bonding bill also is seen as a way to boost the construction industry, and therefore maintain and create jobs. We don't see why the Republican plan to cut taxes on business can't be part of this effort. Republicans want to freeze business property taxes, create an investor tax credit to foster investment in startup companies, create an upfront sales tax exemption for the purchase of new equipment, and offer tax credits for research and development.
We believe that if ever there was a moment for Dayton and Republicans to reach a bargain that really doesn't require much pain for either side, this is it.