Vikings stadium plan chock full of taxes to pay for itby Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — MPR News has obtained a draft of the Vikings stadium bill that calls for a combination of tax hikes and team contributions to pay for a new stadium. People who have seen the bill say it's authentic, but there will likely be changes by the time it's introduced next week.
The bill is labeled "Version 2" and dated March 21. It would create a Minnesota Stadium Authority to select a site for the new stadium and oversee its construction and operation. The authority would select the stadium site by Feb. 15, 2012.
"The Legislature finds and declares that the expenditure of public money for this purpose is necessary and serves a public purpose," the bill states.
View the full Vikings stadium proposal with annotations from MPR reporters.
GOP legislative leaders said at the Capitol Friday that the stadium is not a priority for them, and they want to finish work on the budget. Gov. Mark Dayton issued a statement on the stadium proposal that said, "This bill is a good start, and gets the stadium discussion started within the Legislature."
The bill doesn't specify how much the new stadium would cost, but does say it must have a roof. It also lays out a variety of taxes and fees to pay for the stadium, including:
•a pro sports memorabilia gross receipts tax;
•a player income tax surcharge;
•a state tax on luxury boxes at the stadium;
•a sales tax on direct satellite services;
•a sales tax exemption for stadium construction;
•a property tax exemption on the stadium;
•revenues from a dedicated sports-themed lottery game.
The bill also lists other sources of possible revenue that a host city or county could collect to fund a new stadium, including:
•a maximum 0.5 percent sales tax;
•a tax on each admissions ticket, up to $1 per ticket;
•a maximum 3 percent tax on liquor, lodging, entertainment, and food and beverages.
If the stadium were built in Hennepin County, the county could use leftover money from the sales tax which was used to finance the Minnesota Twins stadium. For a Minneapolis stadium, the authority could use tax revenues from repayment of the Minneapolis convention center bonds.
The bill would require the team to contribute at least $1 for every $2 in state and local money. If the stadium cost more than budgeted, the team would have to pay the extra costs.
The bill would also impose a 10 percent tax on the income football players receive from playing at the stadium. The tax applies to players from the Vikings and opposing teams who make at least $250,000 a year.
The Vikings have been requesting state financing to build a new stadium for years, but the effort gained support after the Metrodome's roof collapsed in December. Fans have also worried that the team could relocate to another city after its lease at the Metrodome expires.
The initial Minnesota Stadium Authority would include five members, all appointed by the governor, including one Hennepin County resident, one Ramsey County resident, and three residents of other counties. The governor would also decide who would chair the committee. After the selection of the stadium site, the group would expand to seven members.
The authority would be required to enter into at least a 40-year lease or use agreement with the team. The team would be required to play all regularly scheduled and postseason home games at the new stadium, although preseason games could be played elsewhere. The team's training facilities would have to be located in Minnesota.
The bill also specifies that the construction and operation of the stadium include programs to "provide for participation by small local businesses and businesses owned by people of color, and the inclusion of women and people of color in the workforces of contractors and stadium operators."
The bill mentions one program by name -- YouthBuild, a group that provides job training and education to low-income youth.
The bill would require the team to lease the stadium for 40 years, and it includes financial penalties if the team violates the terms of the lease.
If the team were sold, the authority would receive a share of the sale -- starting at least 18 percent and declining by 1.8 percent each year. The money could be used to fund stadium improvements or pay for other expenses. After 10 years, that would drop to 0 percent.
The bill also states that Minnesota would retain the right to the team "name, logo, colors, history, playing records, trophies, and memorabilia" if the Vikings franchise was dissolved or relocated.
The bill would also require the authority "to strive to build a stadium that is environmentally and energy efficient, and will make an effort to build a stadium that is eligible to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for environmental design."
It also states that "to the extent practicable," the authority "will strive to make the stadium design architecturally significant," and that smoking would not be permitted in the stadium.
The bill would require the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission to transfer the Metrodome and other property to the Minnesota Sports Authority on Jan. 1, 2012. The authority would be allowed to sell the Metrodome, but would have to pay up to $5 million to Hennepin County to cover uncompensated costs from the construction of the Minnesota Twins stadium.
Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said he wouldn't comment on the particulars of the bill, but said it provided a "framework" to open negotiations. Responding to earlier reports of the bill, he cited a player income tax surcharge and a luxury box tax as two items that might be sticking points for the Vikings.
(MPR reporter Tim Nelson contributed to this report)
- All Things Considered, 04/01/2011, 5:19 p.m.