ST. PAUL, MN—The Minnesota House is expected to vote Thursday on SF3656
, which includes a provision from Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, Chair of the House State Government Finance Committee, to utilize excess funds from the Vikings stadium reserve to construct three veterans homes in Monetvideo, Bemidji, and Preston. Earlier Thursday, Governor Dayton reportedly stated in a press conference that the proposal is "just not going to happen
." The stadium reserve is projected to grow to an astonishing $120 million by the end of the next biennium—far above even the levels the Dayton administration argues is needed. Chair Anderson released the following statement regarding the Governor's opposition:
"It's disappointing to hear the governor express opposition to our common-sense plan to use excess stadium reserve funds to build three critically-needed veterans homes. These dollars are the excess of the excess funding; I compare it to a frosted cake with extra frosting dumped on top—we are simply removing the excess frosting. These funds can be better used to address the needs of our veterans that have sacrificed so much for our country."
Chair Anderson added that the proposal caps the stadium reserve account at 127% of the state debt service payments on the stadium to protect taxpayers.
"Our bills caps the reserve at a level that already exceeds what is financially responsible in order to protect taxpayers. There is simply no excuse for these funds—much of which are generated by charitable gambling by veterans groups at VFW's and Legions throughout the state—to sit in a government bank account. I strongly urge the governor to reconsider his misguided opposition to this common sense proposal."
In addition to funding the three veterans homes, the House proposal would utilize funds from the reserve to fund a priority of the governor's: a new office within the executive branch to combat harassment and misconduct within state agencies.