After scolding Allen Quist for citing the Taxpayers League about racino, since the TP is supposedly in league with tribal gaming interests, the Parry campaign now enlists a surrogate to praise Parry for the deal between Canterbury Park and Mystic that effectively killed racino.
Back in July, the Mankato Free Press reported in Quist, Parry engage in tax spat:
The tax spat started when state Sen. Mike Parry ripped fellow Republican Allen Quist for his 1986 vote to raise the gas tax. Quist, a state lawmaker in the 1980s, followed up by accusing Parry of sponsoring a “major tax increase” on casino gambling. By late Tuesday, Quist was characterizing Parry as habitually dishonest with voters and Parry was calling Quist an “out of the mainstream” perennial loser.
It's quite possible both men are right about each other. The article outlined Parry's response to the Quist attack:
And he [Allen Quist] said Parry’s support for casinos at the state’s horse-racing tracks, with the state getting a multi-million-dollar cut of the proceeds, was the equivalent of a new tax, according to the anti-tax Taxpayers League of Minnesota.
“Misleading people is a habit for Mike Parry,” Quist wrote. “There he goes again. You cannot trust anything he says.”
. . .Parry said his vote for racinos was aimed at ending the casino monopoly enjoyed by Native American communities. And he suggested the Taxpayers League is in the pocket of the tribal governments — attacking lawmakers who support competition for tribal casinos and in exchange, getting contributions from the tribes.
That was mid-July, and the statement is still up on Mike Parry's website. Relevant section:
Mike Parry supported legislation which would have supported the equine industry in southern Minnesota while eliminating the anti-free market policy of picking winners and losers by allowing one group (in this case, the tribes) to have a monopoly.
It is no surprise that the special-interest group that Quist references, the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, was critical of Mike's support of breaking up the monopoly for tribes. The Taxpayers League receives financial support from the deep-pocketed tribal interests in Minnesota.
Lesser than three weeks later, that objection has been erased from memory, and Parry's being hailed as a major player in the deal between Canterbury Park and Mystic Lake Casino that effectively ends racino lobbying efforts, as well as the potential for state revenue from gaming.
A perennial solution to the state's revenue woes first raised in the late 1990s, before a senate bid was a twinkle in Mike Parry's right eye, racino was introduced to the Senate this session by Dave Senjem, who later had his name stricken from the bill as chief author. with DeKruif replacing him as the chief sponsored of the orphaned bill, SF1909. At various times last spring, racino was held out as a way to pay for the school shift or the stadium. It never came to the floor for a vote.
But now Parry's involvement with the bill is being hailed as a win for the horse industry, following the failure of the bill. Not having passed is apparently a form of momentum. Never mind that the Canterbury-Mystic Lake deal was brokered by Governor Dayton's office and House Speaker Kurt Zellers, with an assist from Senate Minority Leader Bakk.
No country for old arguments: Al Dekruif says Parry saves horse industry
In Parry's efforts to help horse industry a success, a letter to the editors of the Mankato Free Press published August 2 that advances what might be charitably called a Byzantine argument were it not for the insult to Byzantium, DeKruif writes:
In a March 2012 Free Press letter to the editor, Jay Daley wrote, "Racino is long overdue." Daley pointed to Minnesota's horse industry decline as owners and breeders move to other states where racetrack winnings and equine-related jobs are greater.
I was proud to join Mike Parry in authoring a bill to allow slot machines at Minnesota's two racetracks to increase revenues and horse industry jobs. . . .
The momentum was so great that it led to a compromise between Canterbury Park and neighboring Mystic Lake Casino. Together, they created a historic agreement, bringing much needed revenue to track purses and boosting Minnesota horse-industry related jobs.
Without Parry, many horse owners and breeders would likely have moved elsewhere. . . .
That's a truly interesting view of the deal between Canterbury Park and Mystic Lake Casino, especially the part that puts Mike Parry at the center of the private deal negotiated by the racetrack and the casino. Momentum for racino? Really?
The Star Tribune reported in Local racing industry in line for a revival:
The manner in which the deal came together with the Sioux highlighted how the state's top politicians gently prodded and tried to read the intentions of the tribe's difficult-to-reach leaders.
Horse industry officials, providing more details on what happened, said the agreement evolved over the past two months after Dayton's office and Zellers contacted the Sioux and urged tribal leaders to return phone messages being left by industry representatives. Jeff Hilger, the president of the Equine Development Coalition of Minnesota, said Dayton told him his best chance of saving the state's horse industry was to strike a deal with the Sioux because raising money by allowing slot machines at the track -- a proposal known as racino -- was going nowhere at the Capitol. [emphasis added]
It's curious for DeKriuf to call this a victory for Team Parry. Or momentum.
And then there's the malingering of those pesky monopolies that Team Parry so derided in July, although the tax revenue increase so feared by the Taxpayer League and scorned by Quist--but sought by Parry-- is so not happening.
In June, the Star Tribune reported in Canterbury Park and tribe cut deal on gambling:
The new agreement forges a powerful alliance between Canterbury and the Shakopee tribe, cutting out of the deal Running Aces harness track and Minnesota taxpayers.
Racino backers had long touted their plan as a boon for the cash-strapped state, one that would at once break the tribal monopoly on casino gambling and yield $100 million in new gambling tax revenue the state could use to repay public schools or even build a new Minnesota Vikings stadium.
Now, Minnesota taxpayers will get nothing. Tribal casinos pay no state taxes.
"It's a sad day for Minnesota," said former state Sen. Dick Day, a lobbyist for Running Aces and former racino lobbyist for Canterbury.
Day said Canterbury settled for a fraction of what the track could have made as a racino. The tribe "paid a few million to Canterbury to shut them all up," he said.
. . .Canterbury says it will now stand with the casino-owning tribes to actively fight any new gambling ventures, such as a casino at the Mall of America or downtown Minneapolis.
How important was Parry in the racetrack-casino deal?
What was Mike Parry's role in this? While the Star Tribune article doesn't mention him by name, it does mention that legislators who supported racino weren't happy about the compromise:
Legislators who favored the racino proposal were disheartened by Monday's agreement, saying it strengthens the hand of tribal casinos, which already operate largely outside the state's purview.
Gambling at Minnesota's 18 Indian casinos totals billions of dollars a year and returns hundreds of millions of dollars to the casinos -- exactly how much is not known. The gambling compacts that the tribes signed with the state have no expiration date and require no sharing of revenue.
"It's a perfect example of what happens when you have a highly profitable monopoly," said Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge, who led an unsuccessful effort to use racino revenue to pay for the Vikings stadium. "Mystic Lake has essentially unlimited funds, and clearly decided that paying what essentially amounts to a bribe -- nearly $100 million -- was a better financial proposition than risking the possibility of competition. This is what happens when you mix money, gambling and politics."
Day said he believes the tribe raced to cut a deal, fearing the growing acceptance of racino in the Legislature. Polls showed that racinos had popular support among Minnesotans.
Now, Day said, it would be extraordinarily difficult to pass a racino proposal.
"Who is Canterbury to tell the taxpayers of Minnesota that we can't have a casino some day?" said Day, a Republican and former Senate minority leader.
Parry was part of the group of senators who tried to use racino to pay for the stadium. He explained his no vote on the stadium to the Waseca County News:
Parry said the reason for his “no” vote is “plain and simple.”
He said there is “virtually no way” charitable gambling can generate the money it needs to pay for the state’s share of the stadium. . . .
In his Senate district, 80 percent of voters wanted racino to support the stadium, he said. Parry said locally, he received numerous emails saying “do not support this thing.”
So Parry wanted the revenues from racino. For something.
And leadership in the track and casino deal? Press accounts simply don't bring up Parry's name. Two House bills get named in news reports about the track-casino deal. The first is Tom Kelly's HF2999. In a sidebar to the Star Tribune editorial, A promising deal for Canterbury, tribe, (typical of the discussiob in the media) readers learn about The Impetus:
A bill sponsored by Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing, and introduced late in the 2012 session spurred talks between Canterbury and the Mdewakanton Sioux Community. The measure, HF2999, would have authorized "the establishment of tribal-state casinos" at both Canterbury and Running Aces while reopening gaming compacts between the state and tribal governments to allow for more games and a state share of new revenue.
The prospect that the Legislature might dictate the terms of such an arrangement brought Canterbury and its tribal neighbors together on their own.
There was no companion bill in the Minnesota State Senate.
There is a curious bit of legislative dressage going on however with the other gaming bill that comes up in discussion of the wheeling and dealing. The bill that allowed for more card tables and simulicasts of races House File 2795, signaled the ability of the casino and track owners to get along, according to a report in Minnpost:
In May, Gov. Mark Dayton signed a deal that the tribe and Canterbury reached late last session that allowed for 30 additional card tables at the racetrack and horseracing broadcasts at the state’s tribal casinos.
Sampson said serious discussions about Monday’s deal began about a month ago — during session — with urging from Dayton and House Speaker Kurt Zellers. The racetrack approached the tribe with what appeared to be a win-win proposition for the longtime foes.
The authors of the companion bill in the Senate? Robling, Metzen and Parry. Before Bluestem or anyone hands him laurels, we must observe that SF 1727 was a simple measure on "Race horse medication regulatory threshold concentrations set by the Minnesota racing commission authorization." It remained so when it was heard in Parry's State Government Innovation and Veterans committee on Monday, March 12, 2012 (audio here).
The language in the House version was added by the Senate by an amendment from the floor on Saturday, April 28, 2012. Parry was not on hand for the 44-18 vote. Parry appears to have missed the day entirely, as he didn't make the opening call of the roll.
Other than than, it cannot be doubted by any reasonable person that Mike Parry singlehandedly rescued the horse industry in Minnesota.