Minnesota Senate approves changed stadium bill

Posted May 09, 2012 @ 1:12 a.m.
Posted By PFW staff

The Vikings moved one step closer to a new stadium in Minneapolis on Tuesday, as the Minnesota Senate voted in favor of a bill to finance it. The vote was 38 in favor, 28 opposed. 

The vote came after nearly 11 hours of discussion in the Senate, with several lawmakers opposed to the $398 million the state would have been responsible for in funding under the original proposal. In total, the new building is expected to cost $975 million, with the NFL, the city of Minneapolis and the Vikings all sharing in the total cost.

The bill now goes to the six-person Minnesota Stadium Conference Committee to work out the differences between the Senate bill and one passed by the House on Monday. If the two legislative bodies can pass the reworked bill, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton — who has publicly supported the measure — will have to sign it into law.

The Senate made significant changes to the bill from the one the state House agreed to on Monday. According to the Star-Tribune, the new bill "adds a 10 percent user fees for tickets and parking during NFL games to help pay the state's share. With chances for an overall tax bill in doubt, the Senate also tacked on a provision to force Internet retailers to collect state taxes and another that would give tax breaks for expansion at the Mall of America." This could lead to some issues with the committee and the governor. 

Senators unanimously voted to increase the Vikings' contribution by $25 million, to $452 million, while dropping the state's share, to $373 million. The contribution by the city of Minneapolis remains $150 million. 

On Monday, the Minnesota House of Representatives voted to have the Vikings pay $532 million toward the cost of the new stadium, something the team did not support but did not rule out.