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Bill would put Vikings stadium on hold until state fixes financing

Posted by: Jennifer Brooks under Funding, Minnesota legislature, Republicans, State budgets Updated: April 4, 2013 - 6:41 PM

Minnesota should put plans for a new Vikings stadium on hold until it can figure out a better way to pay for it, some state lawmakers say.

Electronic pulltabs were supposed to fund the state's $384 million share of the new football stadium. But in their first year, e-pulltabs pulled in a dismal $1.7 million -- well below the $35 million a year needed -- forcing the state to scramble for alternative revenue sources, like electronic bingo games.

Instead of scrambling, state Sen. Sean Nienow says, Minnesota should slow down, put the entire stadium venture on hold, and figure out a secure way of paying for a new home for the Vikings.

"Are we really going to build a sports stadium and take money from education, health care and maintaining roads?" Nienow said in a statement Thursday. "In whose world is that a good idea?"

Nienow and state Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, are introducing legislation that would delay the sale of the first stadium bonds until the the Minnesota Management and Budget office certifies that the state has raised enough money to make its annual payments.

The first stadium bonds are set to be sold this summer and the groundbreaking for the new stadium is set for this fall.

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