DEED: Tax money not paying for Mayo's VIP reception in Chicago

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A spokesperson with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development says no tax dollars are going toward a lavish $20,000 party for Mayo Clinic in Chicago, the Rochester Post Bulletin reports.

Minnesota Public Radio says the reaction comes after criticism from Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, who questioned the event on the House floor during the debate of the Omnibus Jobs, Commerce and Housing Budget bill.

"You might think it's a good idea for the taxpayers of this state to wine and dine people on Lake Michigan on a luxury yacht, but many of the taxpayers of Minnesota can't even afford a beer," Holberg said, MPR reports. "I think this is a wrong use of tax dollars. People can have much less opulent activities."

The state agency vows the exclusive gathering, during the 2013 BIO International Conference next week, is paid entirely by private sponsors -- not taxpayers.

Mayo is seeking $585 million in public funding for infrastructure improvemtns in Rochester to support its 20-year, $6 billion initiative called “Destination Medical Center.”

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