Lawmakers grill budget chief on missed targets for stadium money

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The commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget faced pointed questions from lawmakers about shortfalls in the revenue the state is counting on to meet its commitment to a new Vikings stadium.

In testimony at the Capitol, Jim Schowalter said it's too early to activate backup funding sources to make up for lagging receipts from electronic gambling.

A report issued last week confirmed revenue from e-pull tabs is running far short of the target needed to pay off stadium bonds. Schowalter urged the House Ways and Means Committee to be patient, noting the state's bonds won't be sold until August. Construction of the $975 million stadium is set to begin in October.

Last year the Legislature authorized $348 million in state funding for the stadium. If money from electronic pull tabs and bingo falls short, the state is authorized to start a football-themed lottery game and levy a 10 percent tax on stadium luxury suites.

Some lawmakers worry that even those backup sources will fail to generate the needed money, forcing Minnesota to dip into its general fund to pay for the stadium.

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