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Site of proposed Vikings stadium near the Metrodome.

Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

Vikings stadium bill likely next week

  • Article by: KEVIN DUCHSCHERE
  • Star Tribune
  • March 5, 2012 - 9:11 PM

A bill to build a Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis probably won't be introduced at the State Capitol until early next week, Rep. Morrie Lanning said Monday.

Lanning, the Moorhead Republican who is sponsoring the legislation in the House, said the bill's myriad parts and pieces make it unlikely it will be ready by noon Wednesday, the deadline for introduction Thursday.

It will need to be reviewed by the Vikings, the state and Minneapolis officials before it can be released, he said.

"It has sections dealing with charitable gambling, with a sports facilities authority, with what the Vikings need and what they're going to have to do," Lanning said. "It's not a simple matter."

Another issue yet to be sorted out, he said, is whether a related plan to renovate and pay debt on Minneapolis' city-owned Target Center will go into a separate bill or be folded into the stadium legislation.

Last week, Mayor R.T. Rybak said the Target Center piece, which would use the sales tax pool in place of property taxes to renovate the 22-year-old facility, would be addressed separately.

Gov. Mark Dayton announced agreement Thursday to build a $975 million stadium alongside the Metrodome, including a large downtown-facing plaza and a parking ramp. If approved by the Minneapolis City Council and the Legislature, the new stadium could be ready for the Vikings' 2016 season.

For upfront construction costs in the agreement, the Vikings would contribute $427 million, with the state paying $398 million and Minneapolis $150 million. The state's share would be covered with proceeds from charitable electronic pull-tabs, and the city would extend the sales and hospitality taxes it's currently using to pay for its convention center.

On Monday, Dayton told Minnesota Public Radio that Minneapolis City Council members who opposed the stadium agreement were "shortsighted," and challenged them to come up with a better plan.

Council Member Gary Schiff, one of a majority of seven council members who say they won't support a stadium without a referendum, proposed a "dog summit" at the Governor's Mansion to exchange ideas.

Dayton last week said he hoped to meet with council opponents at his residence to talk stadium and joked that he might use his dogs Mingo and Itasca to bring them to heel.

"My dogs Butters and Lola look forward to meeting Itasca and Mingo and having the first ever dog summit, to come up with a new financing model for a Vikings stadium," Schiff said.

Schiff said that downtown Minneapolis is the "most heavily taxed neighborhood in the country." Rather than extending sales taxes for a stadium, he said he preferred a combination of user fees, income taxes paid by Vikings employees and a hike in rental car fees.

Dayton said Monday that the stadium deal is structured to enable the Vikings to make a net profit of $22 million to $25 million per year, which would enable them to "be viable financially."

He said that the economics of modern professional sports are "pretty indefensible," but added that the state and city must decide whether the economic and social benefits of having an NFL team make it worthwhile.

"Some people add all that up and say it's not a good deal. I add it up and think it's a good deal," Dayton said.

Kevin Duchschere • 612-673-4455

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