No doubt it’s going to take some tricky legislative maneuvering to come up with a tax plan to pay for a Vikings stadium iat a time of expected state deficits and Republican calls for austerity. But using Legacy Funds?
Apparently some legislators are floating the idea of using some of the money from the the constitutionally mandated Legacy Fund for the outdoors and arts, approved by voters in 2008. Money for the fund comes from a state-wide three-eights of 1 percent sales tax.
An MPR story quotes Rep. Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, an assistant House majority leader:
“I certainly think that taking a look at the Legacy money to fund a stadium is something that should be on the table.”
The story notes:
There isn’t an organized effort by legislative leaders to tap the Legacy funds yet, Daudt said. But there is increasing talk among members and GOP staff that this may be the only way that the Republican-controlled House and Senate pass a Vikings stadium bill.
Daudt said the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund could generate about $50 million annually to finance the stadium. He said that would be enough to pay both the state’s and Ramsey County’s share but is unsure if that would be the plan.
“You certainly can’t argue that the Minnesota Vikings and these sports teams in the state of Minnesota aren’t a part of the state’s heritage and certainly part of the state’s legacy,” Daudt said.
Outdoors groups aren’t buying it; neither, I suspect, are arts organizations. Don McMillan of the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance said:
“Opening it up to other uses is a dangerous precedent. Once it starts there, I just fear that they’re going to come after the outdoor funds and the clean water funds and try to subvert them.”
The Vikings don’t care, as long as the state comes up with the money. Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said he hasn’t heard of the proposal, but noted:
“Bottom line on the funding source, it’s up to the state to determine what makes the most sense.”