CHICAGO — State legislation paving the way for a partially bond-financed, publicly subsidized stadium for the National Football League’s Minnesota Vikings is expected to be formally introduced on Monday to a mixed reception.
The sponsors — Minnesota Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, and Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead — submitted the plan on Friday for formal introduction on Monday. Though the bill is not expected to put a price tag on the stadium, officials estimate it could cost up to $900 million to build.
The financing plan relies on up to $300 million of state support through a series of user fees that could include a sports memorabilia tax, a Vikings lottery game, the sale of naming rights, a sales tax on luxury boxes, and a tax on football players’ income, according to a draft of the bill. The taxes could raise about $30 million annually beginning in 2013 to repay bonds.
The host city or county would need to cover one-third of the project and bid for the project. It would receive authority to levy hospitality taxes and a sales tax of up to 0.5% without a referendum to raise revenues to repay bonds. The taxes would sunset after the bonds are retired. The bill also allows the Metropolitan Council agency to sell the locally supported bonds.
Though no city or county has stepped up to formally commit to hosting the stadium, several sites have been floated. Minneapolis leaders favor tearing down the Vikings’ current home, the city’s Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, and rebuilding. Minneapolis, however, has not offered up any tax support.
Hennepin County officials favor a site west of the Metrodome, but the city is opposed. The team has held negotiations with Ramsey County on the site of a munitions plant in Arden Hills. All of the potential hosts have said they don’t want to get into a bidding competition.
For every $2 of public funding, the Vikings would be required to contribute $1, and they would be on the hook for cost overruns. The Vikings have said they appreciate the legislative effort, though the team has some reservations over pieces of the proposal. A new Minnesota Stadium Authority would be created to own the stadium.
The plan has bipartisan support and opposition. Gov. Mark Dayton said the bill offers a good start for debate. “I’m for a people’s stadium that will bring a good economic return to the state and put several thousand people to work building the stadium. If there’s a willingness to do it, they’ll get it done,” he said.
Legislative critics believe the state can’t afford to support the projects, especially given the state’s $5 billion deficit. Dayton, a Democrat, has proposed a two-year budget that includes an income tax increase to limit spending cuts needed to help eliminate the red ink, while Republicans who control the Legislature are opposed.
The Metrodome has served as the Vikings home for 29 years. Absent a lockout, the Vikings would finish out their lease term with the 2010-11 season. The team has long sought a new stadium.
The Vikings previously shared the Metrodome with the Minnesota Twins and the University of Minnesota’s Gophers. Both won stadium packages from the Legislature five years ago with some public funding component. Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis, levied a sales tax without a referendum — as permitted under legislation — to fund its share of the Twins ballpark.