Vikings cool to new state GOP plan for Vikings stadium funding

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A group of Republican state lawmakers proposed a new Vikings stadium plan Thursday that would drastically reduce the size of the taxpayer contribution, arguing it is the only way the team's stadium push can make it through the Legislature.

The chief sponsor, state Sen. Roger Chamberlain, said the bill would have the state contribute $300 million in construction costs from sales taxes on stadium-related purchases that could include tickets, concessions and parking. That's less than half the $600 million to $700 million taxpayer share under discussion in recent negotiations around a stadium likely to cost about $1 billion to build.

Cutting the taxpayer contribution would leave the Vikings owners to significantly increase their own contribution, from a current proposal of about $425 million to as much as $700 million. Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said that would not happen.

"We do appreciate the willingness to bring forward new ideas," Bagley said. "We do want this issue to get resolved, but the bottom line is that his bill's economics are not workable in this small to mid-size market. It would not allow the Vikings to be competitive if this bill passed."

The Vikings have for the last decade been pursuing taxpayer support to build a new football stadium to replace the Metrodome. They say that 30-year-old stadium is outdated and no longer able to generate the kind of profits to keep the team at the same level as franchises in other cities.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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