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“Right now it’s a potpourri of discussions around what we’re going to do, one, to make this current solution that we have out there successful, and, two, if we need to go somewhere else, where is that going to be,” said Bob Hume, Dayton’s deputy chief of staff.
Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, sponsor of last year’s Vikings stadium bill and co-chair of a legislative commission overseeing the stadium project, said her focus is on making e-pulltabs work. “Have you seen any billboards, any signs outside the establishments?” she said.
Another appointee to the legislative commission, Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, chairman of the House Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee, said waiting and hoping for the best is not an option. He estimated that at best, e-pulltabs will bring in a maximum of $12 million per year, “which won’t be enough to pay for a stadium.”
“We do need to come up with a backup plan, something solid, and credible and reliable, that we can sell bonds with,” he said. The bond sale is set to occur in August, and Atkins said the backup plan should be in effect before then.
He said the issue will be “too white-hot of a political football” to sell bonds “without an honest-to-God source of revenue, a reliable source of revenue, that will pay for it.”
Rep. Dan Fabian, R-Roseau, who voted for the stadium bill last year, along with other GOP House members, introduced a bill that would lower the state’s contribution from $348 million to $148 million and reduce the bond sale accordingly. He said he is frustrated by the way the stadium package was sold to legislators and wants to ensure that the state’s general fund is not tapped.
“If we leave here on May 20th and we haven’t addressed this, that’s being irresponsible,” Fabian said.
Jim Ragsdale • 651-925-5042