Well, isn’t this interesting: One day after a Minnesota state representative suggested possibly delaying the Vikings stadium bond sale until the state figures out how to pay for them, two other state reps say they’re introducing a bill to do exactly that:
Republican state Sen. Sean Nienow of Cambridge says he’ll introduce a bill that would delay the sale of bonds for a new Vikings stadium until a revenue stream to pay them off is secured.
Additional tax revenue from newly authorized electronic forms of charitable gaming, which was supposed to pay the state’s share of the stadium, is coming in much slower than anticipated, and the backup sources aren’t expected to be able to produce more than a few million dollars per year.
Nienow says he and Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, plan to introduce the bill next week.
Now, on the one hand, this doesn’t mean that the Minnesota legislature is blowing up the Vikings deal or anything: It’s just two elected officials, and all they’re doing is asking for an alternate revenue stream to be identified before going ahead with the bond sale. On the other, if you recall how damned near impossible it was for the legislature to agree on e-pulltabs as a revenue stream, it’s not going to be easy for them to come up with a new one.
If this bill passes, in other words, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf could be looking at another long, drawn-out battle over who should pay the costs of building a $1 billion stadium, and how. Of course, the state is going to need to have that battle regardless now that there’s no e-pulltab money in the till, but if the bill passes, then Wilf has to sit on his hands and not start construction until it’s figured out. This is going to be a very lucrative month to be a Minnesota lobbyist, I’m expecting.