With clock running, state funding plan for Vikings stadium up in the air - Bring Me The News

With clock running, state funding plan for Vikings stadium up in the air

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The state of Minnesota is committed to paying $348 million for the new Vikings stadium, and its big game plan that relies on new electronic pulltab gambling games to generate the cash so far has been a loser.

Now what?

Minnesota state lawmakers have been scrambling like a blitzed quarterback to create a new funding stream. But time is running out – the Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on Monday.

The most recent alternative plan seemed to collapse on Tuesday. That plan would put a 13 percent tax on sports memorabilia, but after further consideration, legislative leaders said that plan won't work because it would hurt one of the state's top employers: Target. Target warehouses all sports memorabilia for its 1,700 U.S. stores in Minnesota. The tax would be levied at the wholesale level – thus disproportionately hurting the Minneapolis-based retailer, Senate Taxes Committee Chairman Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearwater, said Tuesday, the Star Tribune reported.

So a search by Gov. Mark Dayton and DFL leaders to find a backup financing plan continues, the Pioneer Press reports.

Dayton and DFL leaders are mulling options as they try to finalize a broader state budget agreement. “We’re hearing there’s this supersecret plan to fund the shortfall in the Vikings stadium. The governor hasn’t said what it is,” Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, said, the Star Tribune reported.

The new e-pulltab games have been a huge disappointment to state leaders, so far surfacing in just 234 bars and restaurants (the eventual target was 2,500), the Pioneer Press reported. State budget leaders have said the games will net the state only about $1.7 million this year, way below a forecasted $35 million, the newspaper reported.

Design plans for the new $975 million stadium, to be constructed on the site of the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis, were unveiled Tuesday night. (See a video virtual tour here.)

The soaring glass structure that some have likened to a giant cathedral would feature 95-foot-tall pivoting glass doors that open onto a public plaza. Various city entities would have to consider and approve the plan, KARE 11 reports.

The stadium is scheduled to open for the 2016 season. Groundbreaking is set for October.

The city of Minneapolis is expected to contribute $150 million of the cost of the new $975 million stadium, and the Vikings, along with other private investors, have agreed to pay $477 million.

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