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FUMBLE! Funds from pulltabs fall short of goal

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opinion Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd Dispatch
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Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Are you ready for some pulltabs? Apparently Minnesota football fans are not impressed with the state’s effort to raise money for our (the work-a-day taxpayer) portion of the new Vikings’ stadium.

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By now, only six months after the state of Minnesota established sales of electronic pulltabs and bingo to pay for the Vikings’ new home, a whopping $35 million should be banked. However, a measly $7.5 million is all that has been raised. That’s about the same ratio as Christian Ponder’s completed passes to passes attempted.

It was last May that supporters of state contributions to the building of a new stadium in downtown Minneapolis on the site of the Mall of America Field at the Metrodome were trumpeting the establishment of electronic pulltabs to fund the state’s stake in the game.

Well, someone forgot to tell us that there may be a few fumbles and dropped passes along the way. In fact, there have been ‘holding penalties’ assessed in the process of vetting bars and restaurants before the electronic games may be placed. Oops! I believe it is normal to have a licensing process, but it would have been nice if the folks had been on the ball before committing us to investing in this private enterprise.

Oh well, legislators will make sure things turn out the way they anticipated, right? That’s still a question mark. Consider that Dayton and the Legislature committed the state, that’s all Minnesota taxpayers, to $348 million to build this new state-of-the-art home for the billionaire owners, Ziggy and Mark Wilf.

Here’s how it was supposed to work: “The stadium bill was based on the assumption that the new electronic games at bars and restaurants would be so wildly popular that they would boost charities’ gambling taxes — $40 million in 2012 — by another $35 million by the end of this fiscal year in July,” the StarTribune reported.

Well, someone failed to consider a slump in total charitable gambling. The risk was huge. Because this method of fund-raising has not skyrocketed, but looks more like one of Ponder’s tipped passes, it now appears the system was a poor game plan.

Now that the state is proposing more taxes to fund other state ventures we should look for a ‘Hail Mary’ pass from ‘The People’s Stadium’ proponents. (The name suggests that we’re going to be stuck with the bill no matter how the game is played.)

Bottom line: The state has fumbled the ball and it’s 99 yards to the end zone. It doesn’t look promising from the stands.

Keith Hansen

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889
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