Over the past several weeks, there has been increasing discussion about the construction of a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, and a myriad of funding options have been suggested. Estimates are that the stadium, depending on location, will cost upwards of $1 billion to build.
In the current proposal, Ramsey County has agreed to increase the sales tax on purchases within the county by one-half cent. Such a tax would raise approximately $350 million. The Vikings would fund $400-plus million of the overall cost and Gov. Dayton has previously committed the state of Minnesota to a $300 million contribution for what he has described as a “people’s stadium.”
Another proposal would sell the Metrodome to the Vikings for $1, thus enabling them to reconstruct and renovate the facility and capture the increased revenue streams the team believes it needs to remain competitive.
Still another option is to use proceeds from the so-called “Legacy Fund,” the sales tax voters put in the state constitution for arts, environmental and cultural heritage projects. The theory behind this approach is that the 50-year old Minnesota Vikings franchise is a key part of Minnesota’s history and culture and is as deserving of funding from these proceeds as other recipients of legacy fund tax dollars.
Several gambling-related funding alternatives have been forwarded. One such plan calls for the construction of a casino in downtown Minneapolis with a portion of the proceeds dedicated to the new stadium. Another plan would permit expanded gambling at the state’s two horse racing tracks, the so-called “Racino” option, and yet a third proposal would use proceeds from electronic pull tabs — essentially a limited number of slot machines in bars — to fund the stadium.
The governor has stated he will introduce his own stadium bill in the coming days and indicated his desire to call a special session of the Legislature from Nov. 21–23 to debate stadium legislation.
What do you think? Has your position changed or stayed the same? Should a stadium be built, and if so, how should it be paid for?
In advance of a special session on the stadium issue, I am once again polling constituents, and invite you to take a short survey which can be found at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/stadiumsurvey. For constituents without computer or email access, I invite you to contact my office at 651-296-7806 to share your opinion.
I welcome your thoughts and look forward to hearing from you on this or any other state government issue. — Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers