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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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REP. TORKELSON EXPLAINS VIKINGS STADIUM PROPOSALS

Tuesday, May 04, 2010
ST. PAUL – Do you support helping the Minnesota Vikings build a new football stadium? The stadium debate is on at the State Capitol, and State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Watonwan County) wants to hear your opinions on the two latest proposals being offered by lawmakers. Torkelson said the issue is getting much attention in the media and from a number of constituents, but when compared to issues like Minnesota’s budget deficit, the topic is relatively unimportant. That said, there’s a strong possibility the issue could be debated on the House floor in the coming days. “When I ask people if tax dollars should be used to fund a new Vikings stadium, everyone says no,” Torkelson said. “Yet when I ask them if they’re OK with the Vikings leaving the state, everyone says no. With two new stadium plans now on the table, I think it’s important to hear what area residents have to say about them.” As part of the “Purple Plan,” the Vikings would be locked into a 40 year lease, and would pay $264 million, while the remaining $527 million would be financed by a 1.5% surtax on hotels and 2.5% surtax on rental cars in the seven-county metro area; a 6.875% tax on jersey purchases for all sports, and a sports-themed scratch off lottery game. These four revenue sources would generate $35.9 million per year. Torkelson said this plan is not site-specific. The “White Plan” would finance the stadium over 40 years at a cost of $47.5 million per year. This new stadium would be constructed at the current Metrodome site in Minneapolis. According to this bill, from 2011-2020 the Vikings would pay debt service for the new stadium - $420 million over 10 years – while proceeds from a new sports themed scratch off lottery game would be applied to the cost of the fixed roof. However, this deal is contingent on the City of Minneapolis allowing existing downtown entertainment taxes to be used from 2021–2050 to pay for the stadium. Currently, these taxes pay the debt on the Minneapolis Convention Center, but that is scheduled to end in the year 2020. The scratch off lottery ticket game would also continue to fund the stadium roof over that same time span. Along with a 40-year lease, the City of Minneapolis would own and operate the stadium. So, do you support the purple plan, the white plan, or no stadium plan at all? Torkelson asks you to contact him at 1-888-727-3891 or rep.paul.torkelson@house.mn to share your thoughts.