ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings finally got their stadium bill Friday, but with only 45 days left in the legislative session the team will have to compete for attention from state lawmakers who are mulling deep spending cuts in response to a $5 billion budget shortfall.

The bill is set to be introduced Monday, but its text was released only on Friday. It proposes spending $300 million in money from state taxpayers to help cover the costs of the Vikings’ long-sought replacement for the Metrodome. Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, said she’s glad to finally have a proposal for fellow lawmakers and the public to consider.

Despite the shrinking amount of time available, Rosen said she didn’t think legislative committees would take up the bill in the next few weeks. She acknowledged the bill leaves many unanswered questions, chief among them what Twin Cities city or county will partner up to host the stadium and tap local taxpayers for another portion of the cost.

“I think there’s plenty of time to get a Vikings bill done” this year, Rosen said, noting that a previous bill was introduced last year with only 10 days left in the session. This year, the regular legislative session by law must end by May 23.

The bill would raise money for the stadium with a 10 percent state sales tax on sports memorabilia, along with a sales tax on luxury seats at the new stadium and on digital video recorders, and proceeds from stadium naming rights and a football-themed state lottery game.

The bill does not identify a location for the new covered stadium to replace the Metrodome, instead creating a Minnesota Stadium authority with members appointed by the governor who will gather site bids from local governments in the Twin Cities and pick a stadium site by Feb. 15, 2012. The Vikings would be responsible for a third of costs estimated to reach at least $900 million, plus any cost overruns.

City or county officials who want to host the new stadium would submit bids that include a financing package for a local share. Aspiring local partners could raise that share with a half-cent increase in their local sales tax, as well as by levying or increasing local sales taxes on liquor, lodging, entertainment, game admission, food and beverage.

So far, only Ramsey County has stepped forward as a potential local partner by offering the site of a former Army ammunition plant about 10 miles north of St. Paul. Vikings officials have expressed a preference for the current Metrodome site for a variety of reasons, but local leaders in Minneapolis and Hennepin County have been more hesitant to embrace the team.

Rosen said the creation of the Stadium Authority — which would replace the current Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission — and the 2012 location deadline will give the Vikings more time to recruit the right local partner.

Lester Bagley, the team’s point man on stadium affairs, said Friday that the bill “provides a workable framework to negotiate a deal.” Bagley said the Vikings have some concerns about a few elements in the bill, but the team appreciates the lawmakers’ efforts to move the proposal forward.

The Vikings have sought state assistance to build a new stadium for about a decade; the team’s lease at the Metrodome ends after the 2011 football season, and team officials have said the nearly 30-year-old venue is no longer sufficiently profitable. The collapse of the Metrodome’s roof last December added urgency to the team’s pleas, and team supporters have raised concerns that failure by the state to help pay for a new stadium could result in a move to another city.

The Senate bill argues that spending state money on a private enterprise “provides to the state of Minnesota and its citizens highly valued intangible benefits that are virtually impossible to quantify.”

But so far, leaders of the Legislature’s Republican majorities have avoided detailed discussions of the bill, saying the state budget takes precedence.

Gov. Mark Dayton has been more supportive. “I’m glad the Legislature is taking that step and I remain hopeful that they’ll take the initiative to pass this,” Dayton said Friday.

Dayton said lawmakers should easily be able to handle a stadium debate while completing a budget.

“There’s plenty of time. I mean this respectfully — they’re good at multitasking. They do that all the time,” he said.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (43)
  1. BUZZCUT says:

    “raise its own taxes without input from voters”…show me one Republican that would/should support this.

    1. MARK says:

      Did you even read the story? “Sen. Julie Rosen and Rep. Morrie Lanning, both Republicans”

  2. Newt Gingrich says:

    Two of them are sponsoring the bill.

    Did you read the article?

    1. BUZZCUT says:

      Exactly…they are not TRUE Republicans.. RINOs

      1. The Crux of the Biscuit says:

        They are doing exactly what the Fed Repubublicans are doing. Ryans budget bill will cut taxes fir the wealthiest and raise YOUR taxes. Just watch. If your Medicare costs go way up is that not a tax?

      2. Jerome says:

        The leaders of the Republican party are not elected by the people, so if representatives and senators are supposed to go do whatever the party leader says then we are marching towards a totalitarian state

  3. Drop Kick says:

    Take form the poor and give to the rich, Dooh Nibor.

    That’s Robin Hood spelled backwards.

  4. frank says:

    good by vikings, we do not need more taxes or a new stadium that puts nothing in OUR pockets.
    and they can pay millions of dollars for each player.
    we need to get all the profits put in our pockets not theirs.

  5. Citizen says:

    No state funds, period. In a time when the Republicans are trying to cut health care and give massive property tax breaks for businesses, there should be no question as to raising taxes on the rest of us to fund a stadium for millionaire players and team owners.

  6. Worker bee says:

    Republicans doing what Republicans do best: spend the working man’s money. No new taxes, eh? No new taxes on the wealthy—-just the poor and struggling middle class.

    1. Ryan says:

      Every Democrat in the State House and Senate have been submitting bills to fund the building of a Vikings stadium for the last four years.

      1. Kevin says:

        @ Ryan EVERY? If every Democrat sponsored a bill when they were in the majority then a bill would have passed. John Marty sponsor a stadium bill?
        If you are going to be that ignorant, why do you post other than the simple fact you can?

  7. John Sherman says:

    this continuing debate is like the one in DC about the budget a no decesion so why do we continue this if the majority of Minnesotans dont want the statdium so be it either let it go if the wishes of majority of citizens in the state or have one vote up or down and then close the issue because its the whises of the citizens and continue on by just rasing the taxes Minn growth industry for which there is a zero return.

    1. Viking9384fan says:

      Sherman, The Majority of Minnesotans want the stadium and the VIKINGS. Sick and tired of people in the metro complaining about your tax dollars. Come to out state Minnesota and check the conditions of our roads and county money that is spent in the metro. Keep the Vikings and Give US a new Stadium!!!!

    2. One who sees says:

      Majority of Minnesotans DO want a new stadium and Vikings to stay. There have been several polls reflecting this. I wish people would stop making stuff up to give their arguments validity. The major thing that is giving people pause is how to pay for it.

      1. johnjohn says:

        The polls say they want a stadium. But if you read them to the end they also say that they do not want to pay for it with tax dollars.
        They want the owners/league to pay for it.

      2. Jon says:

        Then post one of the polls. Don’t defend yourself the same way they are.

        1. Are done with stupid yet? says:

          Please provide me with a link to these polls, I have not found anyone that wants to pay for a new stadium.

          You would think that with the average NFL salery of $990,000/ year with the lowest being $245,000 and with Zigie’s net worth of $310,000,000 they could figure out a way to build it.

          Heck, give me 25% of Zigi’s net and I will build it myself.

          No, we don’t care about a stadium, we have payed for the Target stadium, Target center, and gotten nothing. Why are we paying for Target’s advertising much less the sports teams apparently generating millions of dollars a year (any other business that pays their employees more than they make goes broke last time I checked).

          Hey let’s build Zigi a new office, I’m guessing he’s having a hard time feeding his family, much like whomever owns the Twins was.

          You want to pay for a new stadium feel free to do so, agree to 10% tax on any purchase you make. I am not a sports fan, don’t want to pay for it.

          I can’t afford to go to a Twins or Vikings game, cheap seats are what, $20, so my family of 5 pays $100 to get in the door, $20 for parking, $50 for 5 hot dogs and pop. No thanks.

  8. Not a Dems -vs- Repubs Issue says:

    Forget the dems -vs- repubs thing – both sides have their idiots. This is about taxpayer dollars, not political affiliation.

    Note that the two sponsors of the bill are from out-state so none of their constituents tax dollars are going to be spent.

    Whether you support or oppose the bill it’s wrong to pass it without a vote by the public. There needs to be a state-wide referendum on this issue. Anyone opposed to a vote by the people who will be paying for it ought to be hung.

  9. Minnesota Taxpayer says:

    Raise taxes with no input from the voters? What happened to freedom from taxatoin without representation?

    1. Ow says:

      When you go to the voting booth you vote for your representative. You must have been sent down to the principal’s office when that part of civic class was done in the fourth grade. Sorry you never caught up.

  10. Minnesota taxpayer says:

    Sorry, Taxation.

    1. The Crux of the Biscuit says:

      Your ‘representation’ will vote FOR YOU. I didn’t support a Twins stadium andI sure don’t support a Vikings stadium. But what the people want is of little or no consequence, the Rich will simple take what they want from the rest of us.

  11. Stan says:

    “(the bill) would raise up to $300 million in state funds through a variety of revenue streams, including a sales tax on memorabilia and luxury seats”

    Did I miss something? How is this an assault on the poor/middle class? Doesn’t say it’s going to take income taxes and use them to fund the Vikes. It clearly states they are introducing new revenue streams. Without seeing/reading the full bill, I think it’s unfair of anyone to accuse them of trying to “punish” the poor/middle class. This part of the bill definitely does NOT penalize the poor/middle class – it taxes those who can afford luxury seats and memorabilia purchase. As a member of the working poor class (though I think the IRS would call us “middle class”), I certainly can’t afford a luxury seat or to buy a jersey.

    1. The Crux of the Biscuit says:

      You think the rest of us won’t be paying in some way? What color is the sky in your world?

  12. Rob says:

    If taxpayer money is used to build it, then TV blackouts should not be allowed in the metro area when games are not sold out.

  13. Brian says:

    I’m also tired of hearing these “don’t use my tax dollars” fellow Minnesotans complain about building a new Stadium. Even if the bill did include a general fund provision, it would be a fraction of a penny on the dollar and I really doubt that would change anyone’s standard of living. Also, the proposed stadium is to be used throughout the year by a host of organizations and teams, not just the Vikings.
    We elect our legislators to make decisions for us so why would this decision be any different? Sometimes not everyone agrees but even the biggest naysayers of the Twins stadium have changed their minds once they saw what it has done to the warehouse district businesses and for quality entertainment in Minnesota.
    Build the stadium, use whatever miniscule tax is needed to keep construction workers employed and start worrying more about world wide earthquakes, oil spills or terrorists.

  14. Shame on GOP says:

    When GOP won’t even consider a 4 cent tax on each $100 of income over half a million dollars to help provide eye glasses and prosthetic devices to the poorest in MN – don’t even start on a stadium with “any” tax payer money. Just another GOP case of the wealthy wanting toys or breaks and the rest of us must pay for them.

  15. Jon says:

    Hey if the money comes from taxes on Vikings memorabilia and tickets and anything related to the vikings then I don’t mind them building it. It is when funding comes from a general sales tax or whatever that I care.

  16. dee says:

    The HHH Metrodome is a great football stadium. A new stadium should not be built.

  17. An so it goes says:

    So what is this going to cost me? A tax payer. A person who doesn’t care about about football. Doesn’t care about a bunch of rich owners who increase the value of their assets. A bunch of rabid fans, that put on their “over priced football jerseys and horns,” and yell “GO VIKINGS” and pretend that the Vikings are an important part of society. But a person who cares that the health care for the poor will be cut. That many social services to many people will be cut. That class sizes will increase. How will society benefit? On Yes. I forgot. It’s football. That’s what is important. Screw all the rest.

  18. Cindy says:

    Did they submit a plan to reinstate any of the other things they recently took away from the tax payers of Minnesota or perhaps a plan to fix our roads, provide more funding that the current sporting establishments and teams are obviously NOT proviiding enough revnue, giving back to the City or State at the current time to properly plow our streets in the City of Minneapolis ie, Hennepin County? I am just curious, or is it simply a bill to keep a team that already makes a butt load of money that is bribing the citizens and politicians of our state to stay? So sick of this I could literally PUKE!

  19. uh huh says:

    don’t build a stadium and let the loser vikings go

  20. Pavel says:

    I belive when public financing is included in any sports faciility in Minnesota everyone on the francise payroll should be taxed a certain percentage of their wages paid by the sports team in leu of state income taxes. This would allow all these individuals who may not claim Minnesota residency to pay a fair portion of their income toward the “public financing”. P. S. This includes the owner!

  21. h says:

    I wish the vikings would just leave minnesota.

  22. Minnesota Sports says:

    Citizen- With no tax breaks for corporations, means no jobs. People just don’t get it. Screw the corporations , your out of work. I don’t use the light rail but I’m sure I pay a little tax for that. I don’t have children, but I pay for education.
    We all have to pay a little for things we don’t use or care about.
    A new stadium brings jobs, revenues, etc. etc. I get so tired of people bitching about a little tax money for stadiums, yet these new stadiums bring the state together for local teams. RE: Minnesota Twins, try to get tickets without going through a broker, look at the exitment they have generated.
    The Vikings have been here for 50 years, lets not loose them because of alittle tax.

  23. Let the People Vote On It says:

    If, as some have stated, the majority of Minnesotans want the Vikings why won’t the legislature allow a statewide referendum on this issue?

    For those who say only the users will have to pay for it, did you miss the tax on digital video recorders? If you have cable or satellite TV, you’re going to be paying extra for a stadium.

    Let the people who have to pay for it vote on the issue. Let the majority rule, not our boneheaded politicians.

  24. Put It To A Vote By Everyone says:

    If the “majority wants it,” let it go to a state wide referendum.

    Did you notice the tax on digital video recorders? If you have cable or satellite TV, you will pay extra for a stadium.

  25. Awake says:

    Why not take the 300 million from the 9 billion in profit that the NFL made last year. It would be about time the NFL paid its own way.

  26. Jesse says:

    I’d way rather have a stadium then that stupid Billion dollar light rail they are pushing. Yes, we are in a hole, but doesn’t it seem like this money is going to be primarily raised by taxing the fans? Most fans don’t have a problem with that…

    If you want to live in a town with no major sports teams and a better tax environment… Sioux Falls is calling.

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