Conservation Minnesota

A Resounding “NO” to Legacy Stadium Diversion

A big thank you to the thousands of Minnesotans who have contacted their legislators and even come to the capitol to say “NO” to using the Legacy Funds for a stadium. One of the protesters even brought a sign that said “We Are the 77%,” a reference to the Star Tribune poll that found 77% of Minnesotans oppose using the Arts Legacy funds for a stadium.

Because of you, we are winning the battle to protect the Legacy Funding from unconstitutional diversions.. Here are some of the highlights from the media:

“Lawmakers also discussed the possibility of diverting money from the state’s Legacy fund, replenished by a statewide sales tax approved by voters in 2008 to fund arts and cultural programs. About two-dozen people from the arts community protested that idea outside the hearing room.

“When we got this through the Legislature, when we sold it to voters, never once was there even a suggestion it would go to the Vikings,” said Sheila Smith, executive director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts. “This would be a betrayal of voters.”

– Austin Daily Herald and the Columbus, Indiana Republic

“No one spoke Tuesday in favor of funding a stadium with money the state collects for outdoors and arts projects. That had been discussed earlier, and hallways near the meeting room Tuesday were filled with arts and outdoors supporters holding signs opposed to the concept.”

The West Central Tribune, Willmar and Forum Communication’s Capitol Chatter

Online newspaper Minnpost declared that funding for the stadium “isn’t going to come from” the Legacy Arts Fund.

“Almost a sure thing: The money to fund a stadium isn’t going to come from the arts and cultural legacy money. That trial balloon, floated by a legislator months ago, never gained much altitude.

And it was shot full of holes by arts groups at Tuesday’s lengthy joint Senate committee meeting.

A large delegation of arts supporters stood outside the hearing room carried not so subtle signs for legislators to ponder, such as: “Did Zygi doorknock in 2008? We did.”

But it wasn’t just the arts crowd making a point that a football stadium doesn’t qualify for Legacy Amendment spending.

Outdoor organizations sided with the arts folks, too.

“They [outdoor organizations] understand that if they [legislators] can steal arts and culture funds, they’d be next,” said Sheila Smith, executive director of the Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, who helped organize the arts turnout.

Thank you to every Minnesotan who has spoken out on this issue.  Please keep it up.

About Paul Austin

Paul Austin
Paul Austin has 23 years of public service as an elected leader, advocate and political strategist, Paul Austin brings a rare combination of skills and experience to his position as Executive Director. At age 25, Paul was elected Mayor of Clinton, Connecticut – the youngest in state history. Paul has served as Executive Director of Conservation Minnesota since 2004.
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