Minneapolis mayoral candidate Betsy Hodges said the city should not build a publicly-subsidized hotel in downtown Minneapolis.
Hodges said her position on the issue illustrates a sharp contrast between her and rival Mark Andrew.
"There's no clearer way to distinguish candidates' visions for growing Minneapolis than by using this issue as a litmus test," said Hodges, a City Council member. "We need a mayor who has not already pledged away his or her ability to lead on this issue, a mayor who has not pledged away his or her ability to say no to this or other corporate subsidies."
Andrew, a former state DFL Party Chair and former member of the Hennepin County Board, has voiced support for a 1,000-room hotel to help the Minneapolis Convention Center attract major events to the city. He has said the project would have to demonstrate "extraordinary" public benefits to warrant a subsidy, but hasn't ruled one out. A study commissioned earlier this year by Meet Minneapolis concluded that a one-thousand-room hotel would require $125 million dollars in public money.
"If you're talking about that kind of money, I'd say 'in your dreams.' That's not going to happen. The City Council won't support it. I won't support it. This conversation shouldn't end there, however," said Andrew.
Andrew wouldn't say what level of subsidy he'd be willing to consider.
Most of the leading candidates for mayor oppose the subsidy.