Lawmaker Wants Vikings to Make Up for E-Pulltab Shortfall

Updated: 04/24/2013 11:32 PM KSTP.com By: Tom Hauser

A Minnesota state senator says he has a simple solution to the dramatic shortfall in electronic pulltab revenue needed to pay the state's share of the new Vikings stadium. 

GOP Sen. Sean Nienow says the Vikings should simply pay the difference between "projected" and "actual" pulltab revenue. For instance, if the state expects $34 million per year to pay the state's share and only $12 million comes in, the Vikings would pay the $22 million difference. 

"If there's a shortfall, the commissioner (of management and budget) will certify that and there will be a one-time charge for that year back to the Vikings," Nienow says.

The Vikings strongly oppose the idea. "Our focus has been on our financing and we will deliver on that commitment," Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley says in a statement. "We're open to how the state assembles its financing, as long as that structure does not change the deal that was negotiated and ratified by the legislature last May."

However, our exclusive new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll shows a majority of Minnesotans say the Vikings should pay more.  When asked how to make up for the shortfall in pulltab revenue, 52% say the Vikings should pay more.  Twenty percent favor slot machines at horse tracks, 19% support new taxes on luxury stadium seating and only 5% favor a sports memorabilia tax. 

Nienow isn't surprised by those results.  "The Vikings got a sweetheart deal," Nienow says.  "I don't think the Vikings are going to pay a penny out of pocket.  It's all going to be a loan from the NFL. It's new personal seat licenses. It's naming rights. It's money they've not going to have to take out of pocket."