That bck burner sure didn’t last long. Yesterday Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty jumped with both feet into the Vikings stadium push, suggesting to Minnesota Public Radio that the state could use sports lottery money or tax-increment financing to provide between $29 million and $42 million a year toward an $870 million stadium.
Okay, maybe jumped with one foot, or one and a half feet: Pawlenty declined to actually endorse either funding scheme. Still, for something he isn’t actually committing to support, he did go on about it a lot:
“If you look at the Minnesota Lottery, for example, there’s new games added all the time in the lottery,” Pawlenty told a radio audience. “There was one just added the other day called Mega Millions that’s going to generate $20 million a year,” the governor said.
Although 40 percent of those funds — $ 8 million — is constitutionally dedicated to an environmental trust fund, “the other $12 [million] can be used for other stuff. People will say it should go into schools or roads or whatever, but … that’s another way to do [the stadium].”
It’s a bit unclear whether Pawlenty was talking about adding a new lottery or siphoning off money from Mega Millions proceeds, but either way it’s money that the state would be losing — once you hit market saturation with your lotteries, there’s no way to sell more tickets, as the state of Maryland found out when it was forced to abandon a planned education lottery after realizing it had tapped out the gambling market with stadium lotteries. As for the TIF, the Minneapolis Star Tribune called this a “particularly novel” solution, which I suppose it is if you’ve been in a coma since 2003.