Legislators: Vikes stadium bill comes next week

Published 8:49 am Friday, April 1, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS  — Two Minnesota lawmakers plan to introduce a bill next week with a plan for building a new Vikings stadium paid for in part with a state sales taxes on sports memorabilia and luxury boxes, plus stadium naming rights, a pro football player income tax surcharge and a lottery game.

The Vikings released a letter on their website Thursday night to legislators from Sen. Julie Rosen of Fairmont and Morrie Lanning of Moorhead. The Republicans wrote to colleagues that the stadium bill is secondary to state budget difficulties, but still urgent with the Vikings’ Metrodome lease ending and that building’s roof collapsed.

An accompanying bill summary doesn’t list a location for the new stadium or a total cost. But it says the state share would be $250 million to $300 million, raised through the mix of naming rights, the lottery game and the sales taxes — which includes a tax on digital video equipment used for satellite downloads — that’s projected to raise $30 million in 2013 and more in ensuing years.

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Construction on the new stadium would not start until the NFL’s current labor conflict is resolved.

The bill would also create a “Minnesota Stadium Authority” that would select the site and run the new stadium. Local governments in the Twin Cities area would be allowed to bid on the site of the stadium, and would be authorized to levy a 0.5 percent local sales tax as well as taxes on entertainment, lodging, liquor, food, beverage or admissions.

The Vikings would be required to pay at least $1 for every $2 from state or local sources, and the team would have to pay for cost overruns.

The stadium envisioned in the bill would have a roof.

Lester Bagley, the Vikings vice president for stadium affairs, said in a statement from the team that the information released Thursday is a good start to the debate.

“The Vikings look forward to beginning the public dialogue on this issue,” Bagley said. “The bill provides a framework to negotiate a deal that will resolve the stadium issue, and we appreciate state leaders’ efforts to bring this forward.”

So far, the only local government to openly express interest is Ramsey County, where the county board has offered the site of a former Army ammunition plant in Arden Hills, a suburb about 10 miles northeast of Minneapolis.

The Vikings have expressed interest in that site, while also saying the current Metrodome site is preferable for the team. Special provisions in the bill would allow a bid from Hennepin County to use excess Twins stadium revenues or a bid from Minneapolis to use excess convention center revenues.

Other sites named as possibilities are near the Metrodome, near the Twins’ Target Field, and in Brooklyn Park, a suburb northwest of Minneapolis.

Another provision would allow other jurisdictions that want to participate in financing to levy local taxes, dedicate 40 percent of proceeds to the Vikings stadium, and keep 60 percent for their own facilities of regional or state significance.