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House panel challenges key component of stadium plan

Posted by: under Funding, Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators, State budgets Updated: April 16, 2012 - 9:35 PM

 

In a key vote Monday night, a Minnesota House panel blocked an attempt to void a Minneapolis city charter provision that requires citizens to vote on spending city money for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium.

The vote came while the panel was still considering the overall public subsidy package for the nearly $1 billion stadium, and was at least a temporary -- and possibly major -- setback for the stadium legislation. It was unclear however whether the move, by itself, meant that a city referendum would now have to be held.

Stadium proponents have insisted that a city charter provision, which calls for a referendum when the city spends at least $10 million on a sports facility, did not apply because the state would at least technically be spending the city revenues on the stadium.

Under the plan now before the Legislature, the Vikings would contribute $427 million to the stadium, the state would add $398 million and Minneapolis would add $150 million. The team would also contribute $327 million to the stadium’s operations, and the city would over time add another $189 million.

The change was engineered by Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rodgers, the chair of the House Government Operations and Elections Committee, which held Monday’s hearing. “To me, the language is pretty clear,” she said of the city charter. “I think [the city’s residents] deserve a vote on this.”
 

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