GOP Senator Proposes Lower Taxpayer Stadium Share

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A group of Republican state lawmakers proposed a new Vikings stadium plan Thursday that would drastically reduce the size of the taxpayer contribution, arguing it was the only way the team’s stadium push could make it through the Legislature.

The chief sponsor, Sen. Roger Chamberlain, of Lino Lakes, said the bill would have the state contribute $300 million in construction costs from sales taxes on stadium-related purchases that could include tickets, concessions and parking. That’s less than half the $600 million to $700 million taxpayer share under discussion in recent negotiations around a stadium likely to cost about $1 billion to build.

Cutting the taxpayer contribution would leave the Vikings owners to significantly increase their own contribution, from a current proposal of about $425 million to as much as $700 million. Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said that would not happen.

“We do appreciate the willingness to bring forward new ideas,” Bagley said. “We do want this issue to get resolved, but the bottom line is that his bill’s economics are not workable in this small to mid-size market. It would not allow the Vikings to be competitive if this bill passed.”

Other proposals would have the taxpayer contribution come from a mix of tax revenue on expanded gambling and sales tax proceeds from Minneapolis, presuming the new stadium is built there. But Chamberlain said he did not believe a majority of House and Senate members would support expanded gambling. He said funneling tax revenue from a gambling expansion would be “bad policy, bad finance and a tax by another name.”

“We have not yet seen any proposal that could actually succeed in the House and Senate — that has enough votes,” said bill co-sponsor Rep. Linda Runbeck, R-Circle Pines.

The Vikings have for the last decade been pursuing taxpayer support to build a new football stadium to replace the Metrodome. They say that 30-year-old stadium is outdated and no longer able to generate the kind of profits to keep the team at the same level as franchises in other cities. The inability so far of state lawmakers to approve a stadium package has raised fears among the team’s supporters and fans that the Vikings could move to another city, though at this point the team has no choice but to play the upcoming season in 2012 now that an NFL relocation deadline has passed for the year.

Chamberlain said he is a lifelong Vikings fan and that his proposal is serious. But it includes a provision to eliminate the state’s business property tax that immediately drew criticism from Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, a strong proponent of a new stadium.

Chamberlain said the provision would lift a burden on businesses statewide and make it easier for the Vikings to line up private support to help bankroll stadium construction. But Dayton said in a statement released by his office that eliminating the property tax on businesses would raise property taxes on everyone else — “like home-owning families, farmers, senior citizens, and renters.”

In recent weeks, negotiations between the team, Dayton’s administration, key state lawmakers and Minneapolis officials have centered on a plan to tear down the Metrodome and build a new stadium. Negotiators have said in recent days they are close to a final proposal that can be introduced as a bill at the Capitol. Bagley said Thursday that some sticking points remain.

Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, is backing Chamberlain’s bill. He said the Vikings should not be so quick to dismiss it.

“Any other business that was offered this kind of deal would say, ‘That’s a good deal,'” Hann said.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

More from Rachel Slavik
  • Red

    who care anymore- just go away

    • AntiTeabagger

      exactly, another bid for the rich to make the poor pay for them to play with toys, Go to LA loser Vikings!

      • mannex67

        Yup, it’s not the taxpayers responsibility to insure the vikings are as profitable as Wilfy wants them to be. Pay for it yourself, Wilfy.

  • do do

    what do ya mean “all of a sudden” it has been kicked around for more than a few days…..don’t ya think.

  • Randy

    Build the stadium!!!!!

    • TIred of Stupid

      Write a check to Zygi!!!!!

      • Mayhem

        trying to…no one can figure out how much to write it out for!

        SKOL VIKINGS!!!!!!

  • Viable Choices

    Here are the options….

    Play at the dome.
    Play at TCF stadium.
    Build their own stadium like teams in other states.

    You can get your representative’s email and phone here:

    • Jason

      @ viable choice also very good options. I like.

    • NAS

      No team in any other state has had ownership pay entirely for their stadium doorknob. It just doesn’t work that way. I wasn’t aware that you were going to buy so many stadium related products to help pay for it. Did you even read the proposal?

      • TIred of Stupid

        Yes, they have, Google it!

        BTW, “the other states are being stupid too” is not a very good reason to give Zygi Wilf hundreds of millions of dollars.

        • NAS

          Name one NFL franchise in which the owner has paid for the entire stadium with no strings attached and post the link, please, If you can prove me wrong I can handle it, I’m not a poor sport.

          And the hundreds of millions going to Zygi wouldn’t even exist without the stadium because it needs to exist in order to tax stuff that is purchased at the stadium.

          • Ralph

            Have you read the proposals for a new LA stadium
            THE FACTS
            Los Angeles Stadium

            Fact: 600 acres for all day tailgating
            Fact: Within an hour of over 15.5 million people
            Fact: Designed by the same team who built STAPLES Center
            Fact: 100% privately financed – no public money
            Fact: Los Angeles Stadium will be LEED certified

            From the web site.

            • raidersfreak

              Ralph Farmers field is the real stadium proposal in LA. LA Football stadium @ Grand crossings requires a team to finance the stadium which isn’t stated on their website and then the whole 600 hundred acre lot will be turned over to the team.

              If a NFL team actually did that they would reap so many revenue rewards in the long run, but no team will pay for a stadium and relocation fees when they could do the same thing in their current city. Tun it NFL@LA on twitter and you can see what is really going on at that place. Farmers Field will be LA’s stadium the City wants it along with the new convention center. It is all up to the NFL, a NFL Franchise, and AEG to make the appropriate financial agreement and that is not going to happen until one of the most comprehensive Environmental Impact Reports is completed this year.

          • raidersfreak

            The Patriots owner built his own stadium with no public fiance.

    • Rockford

      This is what you get when newbies come on the scene. Will someone explain to the NEW legislators that their job is to do the work of the people. This legislation was going no where. Can we take away their salary for the time spent on this nonsense? Can we please have the old legislators back so something will get done?

  • Jason

    Lets try this again my post only show up half the time. How about vikings pay 100% with 30% up front. Maybe ,just maybe we the taxpayer will front the rest of it, with some REALISTIC ways on how to pay us back. Its called a contract for deed, if payments are to default in anyway taxpayers will own a lions share of the team. Helping to keep ziggy an honest man. Now this is an idea some people could get behind. Helps protect the taxpayer.

    • better yet

      How ’bout this? Zygi pays 100% and leaves the taxpayers out of it completely.

      • NAS

        Don’t buy Vikings gear or concessions at the stadium and you won’t pay a dime. Did you read the proposal? Guess not.

        • Bertrand

          So the state collects taxes on Vikings stuff and then gives the money to Zygi.

          Why doesn’t Zygi just increase the prices on the Vikings stuff and cut out the middle men?

          Answer: It’s a SHAM!

          • NAS

            Then don’t buy Vikings stuff and you won’t be the one getting involved in the “sham” against the patrons who attend the games and buy stuff at the stadium. Simple as that.

  • Tom

    Build the stadium! The Metrodome looks like a bus garage! But make Zygi pay a huge fine every year the Vikings do not make the playoffs. As well as he should buy unsold tickets so there will never be a TV blackout.

    • TIred of Stupid

      Write a check.

  • Papa Dan

    Let it float around ……..out the door and down the river to the gulf.
    It was a nice run Purple, at least thru the 70’s. Since then I haven’t watched 5 hours total. And I have no interest at all in paying a dime

    • NAS


      • Grey Area

        The State would be dedicating a stream of revenue that presently flows to the general fund. To say it doesn’t cost anyone who doesn’t buy Vikings merchandise a dime is disingenuous. What other businesses in MN (General Mills, 3M, Cargill, etc.) do you think we should be refunding tax payments to?

        • NAS

          That stream of revenue you speak of wouldn’t exist without the team or the stadium so your argument just sounds like your only backing to it is that you spite billionaires.

  • Kevin

    Bend over MN tax payers…….the zigmyster is about to insert his love………

    • Read B4 U Comment

      More like bend over Vikings fans that attend the games if you read the article. “$300 million in construction costs from sales taxes on stadium-related purchases”. Are all taxpayers going to purchase these things? I think not.

      This is the best proposal yet. Probably because it wasn’t proposed by liberals.


    Open liquor sale. Vikings should play in the MetroDome, they should use the money building on a statium on a better team. WIN some superbowls then everyone will agree…… 50-120 years later. LOL

  • James

    The article should start out “Several Republican state lawmakers are…” “filing for early retirement.”

    You know that feeling other people get when they know they’ve done something stupid? That’s the feeling these guys are going to get when their career in the public sector comes to a grinding halt.

  • Mayhem

    GEEZ…you people are clueless idiots!

    It already been determined taxpayers will pay something….just what is the question.

    Give up on the “build it yourself,” “I’m not paying for it,” “Make Zygi pay for it” “Make the Vikiings pay for 100% of it….” blah blah blah – whine whine whine. Its rather annoying and does no good.

    Go ahead, call your state reps, call the police, the firemen, your mom, your dad, aunts uncles sisters brothers – call the president, send ’em emails and a strongly worded letter to Santa Claus, threaten not to vote …….It wont do ANY good…it will be built and we will pay for it!!! And you will like it!

    Geez, get your head out of the sand.

    • Susan

      What a whiny baby.

      Why don’t you get your head out of that extremely dark place you have it in?

      If you are so in love with Zygi, why don’t you marry him?

      • Mayhem

        Seriously…thats what you got?

        What are ya, 8?

        • Susan

          Seriously…that’s what you got?

          What are ya, 6?

          When you read your own words, it makes you feel ashamed doesn’t it.

  • Bobby Carlson

    The Arden Hills site is more than just a stadium it’s a jobs bill! With the economic down turn construction jobs and those jobs associated with constructon supplies have been the hardest hit with unemployment. Yes Mr. Wilf is seeking public funding to help with the building of the stadium which puts these skilled contruction workers back to work and takes them off of government programs that the TAXPAYERS are providing. To many people just focus on the stadium and the public funding. Mr. Wilf is planning on developing the area around the stadium with hospitals, shopping & entertainment centers, and other buisnesses which would provide additional jobs to people out of work. This also creates property taxes as well as income taxes that the state is not currently receiving. Mr. Wilf plans on doing this with private funding. Build the stadium and put people back to work!!

    • Elmer

      There are no economic benefits to taxpayer subsidized stadiums…including job creation. Anyone who tells you different is lying.


      • Mayhem

        So whats your point…even if true?

        Your websites isnt going to stop the stadium from being built by taxpayers.

        • Susan

          What’s YOUR point?

          If you whine loud enough and long enough the politicians will make a stupid decision and get thrown out of office?

          You’ve got the whine part down.

          Why don’t you read the articles and then try to refute them. Good luck.

  • I_hate_mini_vans

    Mayhem, you’re right… but why don’t you tell us how you really feel :)

  • Dwight

    You small town hicks, Cheap as ever you don’t desire a stadium or a professional team! Stick to milking cows.

  • Kevin

    sniff sniff hmmmmmmm I am smelling my own crotch rot.

  • SassyStacie

    I’m tired of paying for everyone else’s stuff. Most of us can barely survive now, and then these elite athletes and rich business men want me to front the cost for a stadium I will never go to, for a sport I’m sick of.

    What a crock!

  • Mayhem

    I am a loud mouthed idiot.

    • Susan is immature

      And Susan is immature, she reads peoples posts and complains about them in a childish fashion for recreational activity as opposed to contributing to the discussion about the article.

      • tan pup

        I was entertained . . . It was reminiscent of when my children were 6 years old and fighting on the playground. Oh, those were the days . . . However, I did get a kick out of the part where the republicans said no public tax support – yet they want to tax Vikings merchandise. No matter what you call it, it’s still a tax! They must have forgotten the Palenty way of raising taxes – They should have said “an additional fee for Viking merchandise”.

  • jackactionhero

    Looking forward to having a modern sports facility like the other major metropolitan areas with sports franchises. It’s about time.

  • Leesburg Kid

    Does my heart good to hear you folks complain about where to have the 3-13 Vikings play next year. Raymond James never looked better. Go Buck!

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