The Big Story Blog

What's on the table to pay for a Vikings stadium?

Posted at 10:15 AM on January 12, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Sport

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We're posting some questions and short answers this morning on the Vikings stadium debate and what happens next, just to keep everyone up to speed.

Q: What's on the table to pay the public's portion?

A: It's easier to say what's off the table: general fund money. That's been taken off completely. And given what happened in Ramsey County, a local tax increase without a voter referendum won't happen either.

Practically speaking, gambling is the only way to raise the cash needed and win the votes required. Officials have kicked around electronic pull tabs, a Vikings lottery game and a casino at the Block E entertainment area in Minneapolis. But racinos -- slots at the region's two horse racing tracks -- are the most palatable idea.

Advocates say racinos would raise more than $140 million a year, enough to pay for the public's portions of a Vikings stadium and help pay for public schools.

The idea got a big boost recently when Senate Republicans named Dave Senjem of Rochester as their new leader. He's been a big supporter of a Vikings stadium and has backed racino legislation.

Still detractors hate the idea of paying for a stadium with gambling money, contending that gambling does long term damage to many Minnesota families. Minnesota's Indian casinos also oppose the racino idea and are a powerful poltical force at the Legislature.


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.