Excess funds from 'The People's Stadium' will be used to fund 'The People's Veterans Homes'
ST. PAUL, MN – The House State Government Finance Committee has announced plans to fund three critically needed veterans homes across Minnesota. Using excess funds from the Vikings Stadium Reserve Account, the bill funds veterans homes in Bemidji, Preston, and Montevideo.
With financial backing from the state and local communities, the federal government will cover 65 percent of the veterans homes’ cost. Though the House State Government Finance bill included funding for these homes last year, Governor Dayton vetoed the bill.
“Our veterans have sacrificed so much and the least we can do is make sure they get the care they deserve,” said Rep. Matt Bliss, R-Pennington. “People in the Bemidji region understand the shortage of care veterans face in our area and have been working on this project for more than 10 years. Meanwhile, demand for veterans’ homes continues to increase and construction costs have risen. We need to move forward on this issue now and I am pleased steps are taking place to make that happen.”
The Vikings stadium reserve used to fund the veterans homes currently has an excess balance of $58 million. The reserve is expected to grow to $120 million by the end of fiscal year 2021. Under the bill, the stadium reserve account would be capped at 125 percent of the annual payments of the stadium bonds. The House bill ensures excess funds are put to use rather than sitting idle while still protecting against a drop in revenues. Currently, there is no cap on the amount of the reserve.
“Providing this funding for the veterans home in Bemidji is long overdue and I am glad to see the hard work from everyone involved resulted in this being included in the House’s Budget proposal,” said Rep. Matt Grossell, R-Clearbrook, himself a U.S. Army veteran. “The facility in Bemidji will fill a true hole in service and will serve veterans from 16 northern Minnesota counties, including four reservations. All of these veterans have earned and deserve the best care we can give them.”
The bill has been posted to the State Government Finance Committee home page. Legislators plan to hold a press conference with stakeholders from the involved communities Wednesday morning at the Capitol.