Another day, another Vikings stadium scheme at the state Capitol.
This time, it was a handful of Republican legislators unveiling their plan to help the Vikings with the new stadium the team says it needs.
The plan, tied to a proposal to phase out the state business property tax, was quickly dismissed by both the governor and the Vikings.
But before it’s forgotten, along with so many other schemes to deal with the stadium problem, here’s the plan, which was pushed by Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes.
“The bill treats the Minnesota Vikings franchise the same way the Legislature would treat any other private business n our state,” Chamberlain said. “This proposal is fair to taxpayers in all 87 counties in the state and does not use any gambling revenue to solve this ongoing problem.”
What’s the magic bullet?
Well, the public portion of this plan would be virtually non-existent.
The state would bond $300 million for the Vikings. However, those bonds would be paid off exclusively by a variety of user fees, such things as surcharges on tickets, parking and concessions.
Those fees, Chamberlain said, would need to total about $23 million a year.
The state would provide some breaks, such as doing some infrastructure work around the stadium and give the Vikings a sales-tax break on construction materials. But those are the sorts of benefits that might be offered to any business, Chamberlain said.
Under the plan, the Vikings would seem to be on the hook for about $700 million, or nearly $300 million more than it’s been expected the team would pay, for a $1 billion project.
But Chamberlain and the other Republicans at the briefing said that the Vikings wouldn’t need to build a $1 billion “palace.”
“They don’t need gold-plated tiles” is how Chamberlain put it.
The phase-out of the business property tax would act as an incentive for businesses to work with the project, said Chamberlain, Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, and Rep. Linda Runbeck, R-Circle Pines. There is, however, no clear link between the stadium and this business tax proposal.
It likely was telling that Sen. Julie Rosen and Rep. Morrie Lanning, who have been leaders on the stadium efforts, were not present at this hearing.
Dayton’s summation of the scheme was quick and damning.
“The party of property tax increases is at it again,” he said in a statement. “Some Republican legislators now want to force me into accepting their scheme for eliminating all property taxes on businesses to get their approval for a new people’s stadium.”
This idea, Dayton said, would merely serve to raise property taxes on all state homeowners.
“I will not raise taxes on the people of Minnesota to build a new stadium,” Dayton said in the statement, adding that he will “continue to work” with legislative leaders, the city of Minneapolis and the Vikings on a solution.