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Attempt to lower government contribution to Vikings stadium defeated

Posted by: Jim Ragsdale under Minnesota governor, Minnesota legislature Updated: April 17, 2013 - 5:19 PM

An attempt to decrease the state's contribution to the new Minnesota Vikings' stadium by $10 million was defeated by the House Taxes Committee on Wednesday.

The proposal by Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, failed on a 13-11 vote.

The proposal was related to concerns over funding for the new stadium. Gov. Mark Dayton and legislators are concerned that the state's chief funding source, a new version of barroom gambling called e-pulltabs, is producing far less revenue that was predicted.

Garofalo said his measure, offered as an amendment to the House tax bill, would simply reduce the overall government commitment from $498 million to $488 million, in part to give the House Taxes chair leverage in negotiations over the stadium project. He said the Vikings could come up with the extra funding, or try to lower construction costs.

Supporters of the amendment, including Rep. Bob Barrett, R-Lindstrom,  said such steps will be needed to address the failure of e-pulltabs to pay for the state's source.

"We have a lot of egg on our face," Barrett said.

Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township, said it is "too early to throw in the towel on the Vikings decision." The DFL-controlled committee then defeated the Garofalo amendment.

This, week, Dayton spoke favorably of a proposal working its way through both houses of the Legislature -- to tax sports memorabilia sold by professional sports teams. He said the state revenue department is examining the proposals to see how much it will raise.

He said the memorabilia tax "was part of the original proposal" but was removed in late negotiations over the stadium. "To me it fits back into the original scheme, and we're calculating how much money it will make," he said.

He added that he believes once e-pulltabs are installed in more bars, and combined with a new bingo game, revenues will increase. The sites that now have the e-pulltab games are doing well, he said.

"I'd like to get this settled," he added. "People buying the bonds are going to want absolute assurance they're going to be paid."

 

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