Minnesota Vikings  

 

Legislature ups team's share of stadium costs; Vikings chafe

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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The Minnesota State Senate on Tuesday unanimously agreed to a measure requiring that the Minnesota Vikings provide $452 million in funding for a possible new stadium, and passing on part of the state's contribution to fans in the form of user fees.

The Senate's move came a day after the House passed its own version of a bill approving a new stadium in downtown Minneapolis, with the caveat that the Vikings would have to pay $532 million.

Passage by the Senate would set up final negotiations and precede a new round of votes by the Legislature.

The team, which had been set to pay $427 million under the original bill proposed, said shouldering the increased costs as required by the House is "not workable," the Star Tribune reported Tuesday.

Sen. Julie Rosen, one of the bill's co-authors, was in favor of the Senate's decision to increase the Vikings' share of the costs.

Rosen also proposed imposing user fees on suites, parking and Vikings merchandise as the Senate debate began. That amendment -- adopted on a 40-26 vote -- would levy a 10 percent fee on suites and on parking within a half-mile of the stadium, and impose a 6.875 percent fee on Vikings clothing, trading cards and other memorabilia.

The $80 million gap between what the House and Senate want the team to pay will have to be negotiated in committee.

Sen. Dave Thompson said the deal to date has been negotiated by people too willing to please the team.

"When stadium proponents are putting things on that make the deal less appealing to the Vikings, you wonder if it's been put on just for the purpose of attracting votes and then getting pulled out in conference committee," said Thompson, the leader of the conservative faction within the Senate GOP caucus. "But I guess time will tell."

Reacting to the House amendment, Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley said the team's owners aren't prepared to shell out $105 million more than they had originally agreed to.

"That particular amendment is not workable," Bagley told the newspaper. "(But) I don't want to take away from the moment."

Bagley, however, did not say that the Vikings would reject the stadium proposal, according to the newspaper.

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The amendment in the House bill requires the state to pay $293 million and the city of Minneapolis $150 million.

Under a plan negotiated last winter by the governor, key lawmakers, the Minneapolis mayor and the team, the state would pay $398 million, with the money coming from an expansion of gambling. The city of Minneapolis would kick in $150 million by redirecting an existing hospitality tax, while the team would pay $427 million.

There are concerns in Minnesota that the state could risk losing the team or watch Zygi Wilf sell the team if the stadium problem isn't resolved this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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