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