Vikings Stadium Plan Could Include Taxpayer Dollars

Updated: 05/09/2013 6:21 AM KSTP.com By: Tom Hauser

For the past couple of years Governor Dayton and state lawmakers insisted any Vikings stadium financing plan would not include general fund taxpayer dollars.

However, that might change now that pull tab revenue is falling so woefully short of projections. 

Governor Dayton said Wednesday he's negotiating with DFL legislators who control the House and Senate to come up with a back-up funding source before the legislative session ends May 20.

A source in the governor's office says they've discussed using general fund revenue to make up any annual shortfall.  

No new taxes would be raised specifically for the Vikings stadium, but the source acknowledges it could still be a "political problem" to use general fund revenue that doesn't come from pull tab sales.  

At a news conference on a wide variety of topics Wednesday, the governor wouldn't divulge any details. "Looking at a couple options," he said. "We don't have it nailed down, but I want and the leadership in both the House and Senate want to have a back-up source that is absolutely secure and absolutely sufficient to cover whatever the shortfall is from e-pull tabs and bingo."  

When asked if it involved the Vikings paying more the governor said, "It doesn't involve anybody paying more. Let me correct that. It wouldn't involve the Vikings paying more."

Technically, it wouldn't involve the state paying more either, but it could change the source of the state's stadium financing.  

Lawmakers and the governor are likely to identify a specific existing source of general fund revenue to put toward any funding shortfall.  That amount could vary from year to year.

Pulltabs and electronic bingo were projected to bring in $34 million per year, but they're off to a very slow start. After the first few months of operation, pull tabs only raised about $2 million.

That revenue is expected to grow now that electronic bingo is also being rolled out across the state.