Two Republican lawmakers who oversee the state's Legacy Amendment money say they think other funding sources should be considered to finance a new Vikings stadium.
Some GOP lawmakers have suggested using up to $60 million a year from the Arts and Culture portion of the Legacy Fund to pay for a stadium. The money comes from a higher sales tax approved by voters in 2008.
Republican Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen and Republican Representative Dean Urdahl say it's a bad idea to spend the money on a stadium.
"In 2011, I was given the privilege to serve as the chair the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee," Ingebrigtsen said in an op-ed. "I vowed that I would do all I can to uphold the constitution and do what voters intended in 2008 and not raid the Legacy funds to offset our $5 billion deficit. We were able to stay true to the voters' intentions and passed legislation that mirrored their intent. However, the temptation to raid dedicated funds may have returned.
Recently, there have been rumblings in the media that Legacy funds from the arts portion of the amendment may be used to contribute to a new Vikings stadium. As chair of the committee that provides oversight for the Legacy funds, I adamantly oppose this and will vote against any proposal designed to use them."
Urdahl told MPR News that he's encouraging legislative leaders to look at other options.
"In this business you never say never about anything," Urdahl said. "But it should be something that we should put way down on our list. I think there are other better ways to do it."
Urdahl chairs the Legacy Funding Committee in the House. Governor Dayton is planning to release his Vikings stadium plan next week. He hopes to call a special session for the week of November 21st to address the Vikings stadium issue.
For anyone concerned about Governor Dayton using Legacy funds to pay for the new Vikings stadium please take a moment to check out and sign the following e-mail campaign:
Any discussion of using public money for corporate resources, especially for something as frivolous as pro sports, is despicable in the current economic and social climate. Imagine pouring that kind of money into local education, mass transportation, or health care. All of those investments would have a positive return exponentially over anything a football team can provide. This whole idiotic discussion has to rank up there with the Roman "investment" in gladiator facilities as the empire was collapsing from corruption and decadence.