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Pawlenty nixes major funding sources for proposed Vikings stadium plan

WASHINGTON — A spokesman for Gov.

WASHINGTON — A spokesman for Gov. Tim Pawlenty today ruled out 87 percent of the public finance portion of a new plan to build a Minnesota Vikings stadium, saying the governor remains opposed to tax increases of any kind to finance the venture.

The stadium funding plan, announced this morning, would have included $264 million in up-front cash from the Vikings, followed by $527 in public funds to be paid over 40 years. The public financing share would be made up through a combination of taxes on hotels, sports merchandise, rental cars and a sports-themed lottery game. Critically, proponents said, it wouldn’t use state general fund dollars.

(Plan details are here.)

Pawlenty said this morning that he’d consider a proposal, so long as it doesn’t involve “state tax money or tax dollars,” but added that he hadn’t yet had time to review this new proposal and said he’d issue a statement in the afternoon. (My earlier article is here.)

In that promised statement, Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung specifically ruled out the hotel, merchandise and rental car taxes, which would have raised $31.1 million a year, or 87 percent of the of the annual $35.6 million public finance portion of the stadium plan.

“Our position on a stadium is unchanged,” McClung said. “While the Vikings are an important state asset, the Governor believes the legislature should concentrate on passing a budget and key education reforms.”

“We remain opposed to any stadium plan that includes tax increases, including the hotel tax, jersey tax, and rental car tax in one of the plans unveiled today. The Governor also continues to believe the team needs a local partner to be successful in their effort.”