New stadium plan hits turbulence, but passes first House panel

  • Article by: BAIRD HELGESON and MIKE , KASZUBA
  • Updated: April 3, 2012 - 12:18 AM

House panel OK'd proposal despite criticism of funding backstops.

hide

One of three new conceptual images from the Minnesota Vikings shows possibilities for a stadium and its surroundings on the Metrodome site in downtown Minneapolis.

Photo: , Minnesota Vikings

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

A new financing plan for a Minnesota Vikings stadium ran into immediate trouble Monday at the state Capitol, but had enough momentum to pass its first test in the House.

Hours after Gov. Mark Dayton and the chief Senate author of the legislation criticized a key ingredient of the new proposal, a House panel adopted the plan and sent it on its wobbly way.

The plan to fund the nearly $1 billion stadium could get more hearings in both the House and Senate this week before the Legislature begins a 10-day spring break. No Senate panel has yet approved the plan and any stadium deal likely faces choppy political seas as stadium supporters race against GOP hopes to adjourn the Legislature by month's end.

The proposal presented Sunday by Republicans in the House would create funding backstops for the state's share of stadium costs. It quickly drew criticism from several corners, and Dayton said a provision to also allow so-called tip board betting on professional sports games would violate federal laws against sports betting.

"It doesn't strike me at first glance as a viable option," the governor said.

"Do you think the governor's assessment is not entirely accurate?" Rep. Sheldon Johnson, DFL-St. Paul, asked at the hearing.

King Wilson, the executive director of Allied Charities of Minnesota, an umbrella group for the charities, said he felt certain that tip boards would be deemed legal and were different from outright sports bookmaking. A tip board, he said, is simply a numerical game that is not based on which team wins a particular game. "It does not matter who wins or loses," said Wilson.

The charities estimate that the new games would bring in $16 million a year.

But an analyst for the House panel told the committee he was unsure the provision could survive a court challenge. And earlier in the day, Tom Barrett, executive director of Minnesota Gambling Control Board, said New Jersey is trying to challenge the ban, but that the tip boards remained illegal.

Others tried to look past any legal issues surrounding tip boards. "This is going to help a lot of small businesses like mine," Dan O'Gara, the owner of O'Gara's Bar and Grill in St. Paul, said of the tip-board proposal. "This is going to help people stay in our business."

Both Dayton and Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, the chief Senate author of stadium legislation, were visibly upset with not being made aware of the key features of the House plan, which features a $36 million tax break for the charitable gambling industry that reflected the wishes of House Speaker Kurt Zellers.

"Not telling the governor was a big mistake," Rosen said Monday.

"I'm part of the game here, too,'' she said. "I should have been told."

Rosen said she was lukewarm to the proposal. "I think it's got some issues if people think, or perceive to think, that it's unlawful," she said.

Dayton also warned that the legal questions surrounding tip boards would not pass muster with the bond houses that will be needed to finance construction of a new stadium. The state must come up with nearly $400 million for its share, which has left state leaders groping for the roughly $42 million a year needed to make debt payments without tapping the state's general fund.

Hennepin County officials also huddled with lawyers on Monday over a separate provision that would tap excess county sales tax money for Target Field as another funding backup.

"That's a travesty," said Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin. "It is breaking faith with the people of Hennepin County. They are scrambling because they can't find their own solution to this problem, so they are taking other people's money. It's obscene."

County lawyers discussed Monday whether, depending on the wording of the final bill, the state could take the money without board approval. Even Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, the chief House author of the legislation, said he was unsure.

"This should give all levels of governments some heartburn," Hennepin County Board Chairman Mike Opat said. "I am against this because they are backing up [a] state revenue shortfall with a local tax."

Zellers said Monday he will not work actively for or against the stadium proposal.

"If it fits in with the schedule, as long as it's moving forward on a fair vote, I think it's proceeding along," he said. "I'm not going to exert any undue pressure to hurry it up or to slow it down."

Hours before the vote, Dayton made no predictions on the stadium proposal's chances of reaching his desk.

"The coin is flipping in the air and I don't know whether it is going to come down heads or tails," he said.

Some Republicans have said they envision a scenario in which Dayton might trade his approval of education and government reform provisions he has spoken against in exchange for their support for a stadium.

"No one has approached me with any of those suggestions or offers," Dayton said. "I have heard the rumors, but nothing at this point has come to pass."

mkaszuba@startribune.com • 651-925-5045 baird.helgeson@startribune.com • 651-925-5044

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - J. Lester 7:07 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Boston
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Ottawa 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Carolina 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
Dallas
Colorado 8:00 PM
Calgary
Los Angeles 9:30 PM
San Jose
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do against Atlanta?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close