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Target Center separated from stadium bill

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: March 1, 2012 - 1:06 PM

Mayor R.T. Rybak, who has tied his support of a Vikings stadium plan to Target Center improvements, said Thursday that the two issues would be addressed in seperate pieces of legislation.

That could jeopardize the plan to renovate and pay down debt on the 22-year-old facility, since legislators could vote for the stadium but not Target Center. The Target Center plan has irked some lawmakers, who said it would cost crucial stadium votes if included in the final package.

Rybak maintains that the fate of both bills remains intertwined, however, since City Council approval for the stadium hinges on Target Center.

"If we don’t have both of those together, we won’t be able to pass this," Rybak said.

Rybak has proposed funding the Target Center plan with the same convention center taxes that he wants to pay for a stadium. Some of those dollars will be freed up when the debt on the convention center is paid in 2020.

According to a terms sheet released Thursday, the companion legislation will authorize the city to use convention center taxes "in support of capital projects or for other economic development purposes."

But several stadium opponents argue that the city already has that abililty. In 2009, the Legislature passed a law stating that excess convention center taxes can be used for "capital projects to further residential, cultural, commercial, and economic development in both downtown Minneapolis and the Minneapolis neighborhoods."

Asked about this provision on Thursday, Rybak said there is no excess money unless the stadium deal passes -- presumably because the state would issue bonds.

“There’s no money there unless [it’s] part of this deal," Rybak said.

 

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