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April 29, 2010
Latest Vikings stadium idea: Let cities fight over us
A stadium bill garnering bipartisan support is expected to be introduced next week at the state Capitol. It gives cities and counties the option to vie for the team, potentially pitting municipalities against one another for the right to call themselves the home of the purple and gold.
"We're planning on rolling something out next week," co-sponsor Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, said Wednesday.
The bill includes two major options, including rebuilding on the site of the Metrodome using taxes currently being raised for the Minneapolis Convention Center. The second option, while not site specific, would pre-authorize a menu of local taxes and set up a stadium commission. If it passed, any local government could select from that tax menu to put together a financing package with the team and seek approval from the commission.
The upside for the Vikes: The Minnesota legislature has shown itself to be amenable to stadium funding plans that don't require any state money. The drawback: They'd still need to find a municipality to play along. The St. Paul Pioneer Press says the likely bill is focused on "'user' taxes, those aimed at businesses that would benefit from a new stadium — such as hotels and car rentals — and the people who use them," but it's going to be tough to piece together $700 million from those alone. And a sports memorabilia tax seems like it'd run afoul of Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who wants to avoid any new state taxes.
The chief state senate advocate of a Vikings deal, meanwhile, tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he's almost out of time to get a stadium bill ready, and still hasn't started lining up support. This could end up even more of a nail-biting finish than the last Vikings game