Editor's Note: The following letter was sent to constituents by Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-District 44B).
Dear Neighbors and Friends,
Minnesota’s economy remains slow, and too many of our citizens are still looking for jobs and cannot find them. We have an immediate jobs shortage, and we must take action to create a broadly prosperous state for our children and grandchildren.
Yet state government has been incapable of providing even short-term solutions, much less embracing a vision for economic success. The current Vikings stadium debate is a vivid demonstration of our inability to set the right priorities for our state.
Building a Vikings stadium will not produce long-term economic growth. Every independent economic analysis shows that building a stadium provides no net increase in job growth. Minnesota will see the benefit of a boost in construction jobs, but beyond that the economic benefits of a new stadium are very limited.
The stadium funding package moving through the Legislature could have been a better deal for Minnesotans. It gives the Vikings more money than they need, and it is funded through a regressive form of revenue. We could have done much better.
Last month I voted against the stadium bill, hoping that we could move on with the session and focus on other initiatives to create jobs and promote sustained economic growth. I hoped the Vikings would wait while we addressed the more vital concerns of our state, like innovation and research, education, and expanding the middle class.
It has become clear, however, that the current political environment of the state capitol is not capable of producing any other job or economic growth initiative besides the Vikings stadium bill. We face a choice, at the end of the legislative session, between doing nothing or spending our limited resources on a project with a limited return on investment.
Yet, as voters experience in every election, politics often comes down to a choice between two imperfect options. I have decided that a flawed plan for creating jobs in Minnesota is better than no plan at all. In future years I hope that we will go on to do big things that will pay dividends for generations. But in 2012 we will have to be satisfied to do the best we can and hope for better years to come.
For the sake of making what little progress on jobs that we can this year, I have decided to vote ‘yes’ on the Vikings stadium. In the years ahead, I hope Minnesotans will demand more from their government, and I hope that their elected officials will start to deliver.