Gov. Mark Dayton heads to New Jersey this week to woo NFL officials about bringing the 2018 Super Bowl to the new Vikings stadium in Minneapolis.
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But the fact that the bill for lodging and flights to this year's Super Bowl site will be picked up by Minnesota taxpayers doesn't sit well with Republican Marty Seifert, the former House minority leader who is currently running to take Dayton's job.
"A multimillionaire like Mark Dayton expecting average Minnesotans to foot the bill for his taxpayer-financed Super Bowl vacation is an insult," Seifert said in a release. "First, Mark Dayton raised their taxes to pay out-of-state billionaire owners for a new stadium and now, he's expecting hardworking Minnesotans to pay for him to vacation with the same people."
But Dayton's press secretary argues whatever the public is paying to send the governor to New Jersey is peanuts compared to the $300 million or more bringing the Super Bowl here will generate.
"This is state business. The governor is going out to bring the Super Bowl back to Minnesota and all the economic benefits that come with it," Matt Swenson told us, adding that his boss is leaving New Jersey on Saturday, the day before the game. "It's no different than if [Dayton] were going to meet with executives of a company in San Francisco to bring jobs to Minnesota."
Asked specifically how much the governor's trip is projected to cost, Swenson said he'd "have to check on that" and get back to us.
Seifert, meanwhile, apparently couldn't resist the urge to put the exclamation point on his objection to the trip with an ad hominem shot at Dayton.
"I don't believe this publicly-funded junket is justified in the eyes of hardworking taxpayers," Seifert said. "Does the average person really think Mark Dayton is going to 'wow' Super Bowl executives with some sort of articulate message?"
:::: UPDATE ::::
Dayton has backed out of the controversial trip for reasons that would make Hank Hill proud:
Due to emergency propane shortage, #mDayton will no longer attend meetings this weekend with NFL officials regarding MNs 2018 Super Bowl bid