A Republican Minnesota lawmaker on Wednesday effectively proposed that the state re-examine a financing deal with the Minnesota Vikings for a new stadium – and he calls on the team to contribute an extra $200 million to the $975 million project, the Pioneer Press reports.
If that can't get done, Rep. Bob Barrett of Lindstrom said the Vikings ought to give the state revenue from stadium naming rights.
And Barrett proposes another alternative: State authorization of slot machines at gaming facilities.
"Because the original funding plan was poorly conceived, the Vikings need to step in and save the day," he said in a statement.
Meanwhile Wednesday, the House Taxes Committee is reviewing a bill to increase sales taxes on pro sports gear and luxury suites at pro games.
Lawmakers have been scrambling to come up with alternative plans, including racetrack casinos, to cover the cost of the state's $348 million share of the nearly $1 billion stadium to be constructed in place of the Metrodome.
Financing plans had relied heavily on tax revenue raised from new electronic pulltab games. But the games have not swept into bars and restaurants as quickly as expected and revenue has fallen far short of projections.
Some have suggested the entire stadium project be put on hold until lawmakers can figure out a better way to pay for it. Groundbreaking is scheduled for the fall and the Vikings hope to be in the new stadium for the 2016 season.
Gov. Mark Dayton has said it's not yet time to panic and that criticism about the revenue shortfall is premature and politically motivated.