Bipartisan group of lawmakers unveils Vikings stadium plan seeking two-thirds of cost from public

A bipartisan, outstate group of lawmakers, backed by some hospitality industry executives, construction trades and Minneapolis downtown boosters, unveiled a Vikings stadium funding concept this morning that would rely on a collection of surtaxes and lottery proceeds.

No state general fund money would be used, said such sponsors as Rep. Loren Solberg, DFL-Grand Rapids, and Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook.

Under one plan to build a $791 million stadium, team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf would pay $264 million up front, with the remaining public piece adding up to $527 million. The team’s share would be 33 percent, or less than the share (36 percent) that Twins ownership paid into $535 million Target Field.

The public subsidy would come from:

• 1.5 percent regional hotel surtax ($8 million per year)

• 6.875 percent tax on sports apparel ($16.9 million)

• A sports-themed lottery game ($5.5 million):

• A 2.5 percent surtax on rental cars ($5.5. million).

Sponsors said those sources would use $31.9 million a year (PDF) over a 40-year Vikings lease period to pay for the stadium. The additional $4 million a year raised would be escrowed for future stadium needs.

Under another plan, the city of Minneapolis would be asked to use an existing entertainment tax (PDF) to help fund the stadium.

Bakk, noting that key education and state budget work is nearing completion at the Legislature, said, “Now’s the time to commit”  committee time to the stadium effort.

Rep. Morris Lanning, R-Moorhead, said any plan would require “a local partner.”

That’s code for Minneapolis to step forward.

But bills to be introduced (PDF) will include a potential site at the current Meteodome location or, if Minneapolis shows no interest, a site-neutral plan.

Bottom line, as Bakk said, this is a “starting point.”

Also on hand for the news conference was Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmount.

A hearing has been set for Tuesday in the House Local Government Division in the House. The hearing is expected to begin about 4 p.m.

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Mac Riddel on 05/03/2010 - 11:00 am.

    Another failed bid at a Vikings stadium. Why should Zygi only have to pay a third when the Twins paid more and other nfl stadiums were paid for without any public money whatsoever? The Vikings also have a history of doing a poor job at working with local cities in developing a stadium plan. Remember Blaine? They don’t deserve to be rewarded and taxpayers don’t deserve to pay a surcharge penalty for the next 40 years either.

    A good plan would have the Vikings pay 50% up front for a retractable-roof stadium. The Twins deal was excellent as they play A LOT of games each summer. The Vikings play few games during the fall, so investing that much money into a mostly vacant fixture is a poor value.

  2. Submitted by Ross Williams on 05/03/2010 - 11:11 am.

    The problem is not the stadium, the problem is that this group of legislators doesn’t have a bi-partisan plan to ensure kids get a world class education. Instead they are putting their energy into assuring there is a multi-million dollar studio for the reality TV show that is professional football.

    Over the last three decades Minnesota has funded a huge system of first rate sports arenas. We have built two new professional hockey rinks, a new Timberwolves stadium, two new Twins stadiums, a Gopher football stadium, a Gopher football practice facility, a Gopher men’s hockey arena, a Gopher women’s hockey arena, a Gopher baseball stadium and several other venues for local sports teams in places like Duluth, Bemidji, St. Cloud and St. Paul. I am no doubt leaving a lot off that list.

    On the other hand, we have a third rate public education system for both k-12 and secondary education. And a practically non-existent investment in the early childhood education that is the key to later educational success. We aren’t keeping up with the rest of the United States, much less the world.

    Essentially we are funding entertainment for couch potato sports fans at the expense of our future. How about using the apparel tax and sports-themed lottery to fund high school athletics? The money local school boards would save could be spent on upgrading the rest of the local education system.

  3. Submitted by donald maxwell on 05/03/2010 - 01:03 pm.

    What a wonderful idea these guys have come up with: tax sports equipment! Collect money from the participating-sports people to subsidize the cost of the spectator sports.

    That’s one way to keep increasing the cost of health care.

    Here’s a revolutionary idea. If you just have to have money from the public trough to build a stadium, why not support the new stadium with a tax on tickets for events there?

  4. Submitted by scott cantor on 05/03/2010 - 02:39 pm.

    I propose a 40 year sales tax surcharge on outstate MN counties to pay for the new Vikings stadium, since they’re the ones apparently most keen on building it. In recognition of their sacrifice, I am also willing to site it in Mankato, St Cloud, or even Bemidji, especially if they step up as a strong local partner. And let’s put naming rights on the table too–how ’bout a rousing cheer for the Brainerd Vikings? Look out, Moorhead Spuds, there’s a new sheriff in town.

  5. Submitted by Tony Spadafora on 05/03/2010 - 03:27 pm.

    Both of the proposed funding plans are “sweetheart” deals and there’s not much time to fix them.

    The funding from private sources that Zygi calls his contribution will come from businesses and season ticket holders. That contribution needs to be doubled to come anywhere near a deal that good for the Vikings and good for MN.

    The 40-year lease idea is preposterous. The Vikings received major lease concessions 20 years into their current 30-year Metrodome lease. What makes anyone think a 40-year lease will be acceptable to the Vikings much less the NFL?

  6. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 05/03/2010 - 04:05 pm.

    I get a kick out of the fact that it’s the out state legislators who are backing the Vikings Stadium. As with the Twins Stadium, the out state reps want to keep the team here, just so long as someone else pays for it.

    A basic precondition to any Vikings Stadium deal should be that the state assumes at least part of the obligation Hennepin County taxpayers have incurred for the Twins Stadium. These are statewide assets, and it is fundamentally unfair that local communities should assume the burden of paying for them.

  7. Submitted by James Hamilton on 05/03/2010 - 05:05 pm.

    we’ve eliminated funding for the bread and yet we still want to build a coliseum for the circuses.

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