Pawlenty nixes major funding sources for proposed Vikings stadium plan

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.”

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Bill Coleman on 05/03/2010 - 10:27 pm.

    All we need is an alchemist who could just whip up some gold from lead. This is Pawlenty at his finest, promoting a stadium on his radio show, then being unwilling to do the hard work!

  2. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 05/04/2010 - 07:19 am.

    Thank-you Gov for your clarity on this issue. I am still waiting for a clear statement from the DFL candidates for Gov.

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/04/2010 - 08:00 am.

    The last thing we need is a governor who’s working “hard” on welfare programs for billionaires. Not that it matters what this particular governor works on, but this is one completely justifiable application of a no new taxes pledge. Credit where credit is due from a guy who seriously dislikes Pawlenty- Thanks Tim.

  4. Submitted by T J Simplot on 05/04/2010 - 08:52 am.

    Would he be okay with it if we changed the word “tax” to “fee”?

  5. Submitted by Susan Lesch on 05/04/2010 - 11:59 am.

    Mr. Wallbank, thank you for bringing us the news (I no longer can trust Mr. Weiner to be neutral on this issue).

    First, I would like to know why, looking at the comments on both of your articles, all the commenters are male?

    I know of female Vikings fans but think that the United States passed Title IX many years ago to include women in sports. The number of spectator sports stadiums built for a few men to play in a small radius in Minneapolis must be a joke.

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