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House speaker: Tapping general fund for stadium if pull-tabs fall short would be 'huge problem'

Republican Kurt Zellers says he's very concerned that revenue from electronic pull-tabs won't be enough to cover the state's share of a new Vikings stadium. And the current plan would designate the state's general fund as a backup. "If (it's) taking money out of the general fund, which is schools, which is roads, that doesn't work," he says in a Pioneer Press report.
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Republican Kurt Zellers says he's very concerned that revenue from electronic pull-tabs won't be enough to cover the state's share of a new Vikings stadium. And the current plan would designate the state's general fund as a backup. "If (it's) taking money out of the general fund, which is schools, which is roads, that doesn't work," he says in a Pioneer Press report.

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Bingo, pull-tabs: Rolling the dice for stadium funding

A plan to install electronic bingo and pull-tab machines in bars and restaurants is a popular suggestion when it comes to how the state could raise the money for a new Vikings stadium. But at least one expert says it would be a big gamble. The only revenue estimates we have are based on current sales, and no one can guess how customers will react to the new games.

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More than 1,200 nonprofit groups generated about $80 million from paper pull-tab games in 2009. The Pioneer Press reports the state Department of Revenue predicts electronic pull-tabs would produce $72 million in new tax money. Charities are told they'll benefit from a significant tax relief, but the amount remains uncertain because it's still unclear how much of that $72 million will be needed to help finance a new NFL stadium in Minnesota.

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Lawmakers now writing a bill to build a new home for the Vikings are looking into alternate funding sources in case revenue from gambling in bars fails to bring in the $398 million the state promises to contribute, according to the Associated Press.

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Next week, the full state House will vote on the previous Vikings stadium plan that uses gambling revenue to pay for the state's portion of the $975 million stadium. It's unclear if the legislation has the required 68 House votes or the 34 Senate votes needed to pass it. House Speaker Kurt Zellers says he personally opposes the bill.

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