To the editor-
We will have our hands full as we address high-priority, real-life issues during the upcoming legislative session. A substantial budget deficit is looming, the unemployment rate is still too high, health care reform is being considered and we need to make sure our schools are sufficiently funded.
While building a new Minnesota Vikings stadium issue pales in importance when compared with the aforementioned topics, the truth is this matter is bound to make headlines at the Capitol. In a perfect world we’d find a way to keep our storied football franchise in Minnesota without gouging taxpayers who are already overburdened, struggling to meet their day-to-day expenses.
One bill that was recently unveiled proposes a constitutional amendment authorizing the use of revenue from the addition of slot machines at the existing metro-area horse racing facilities for Vikings stadium funding. This legislation includes a slight change from a previous bill, which proposed new privately owned casino as the revenue source.
The referendum would be posed to Minnesota voters on 2010 election ballots, before the Vikings’ Metrodome lease expires in 2011.
There are many aspects of this proposal to consider and I will give it a thorough review as we ramp up to the 2010 session which begins in February. At the very least, this appears to be a way of generating stadium revenue without raising taxes. I anticipate other ideas to surface and will consider their merits as they emerge.
I look forward to open discussions so we can determine an appropriate and responsible course of action, keeping stadium things in context as we address the aforementioned urgent matters.