On Air
0:00
0:00
Open In Popup
MPR News

Should Minnesota wait for Vikings stadium until it knows it can pay for it?

Share story

ribbon-roof-5

The chief critic of the Vikings stadium financing plan, state Sen. Sean Nienow (R-Cambridge) says the state ought to wait for its stadium dessert until after the fiscal broccoli.

Nienow says he's introducing a measure to delay groundbreaking on the stadium until Minnesota's finance commissioner can certify that the revenues from electronic pultabs and other sources are sufficient to pay the debt service on the bonds.

Those proceeds have fallen woefully short thus far: March saw just $2.4 million in sales of electronic pulltabs statewide, and the financing was predicated on bets of more than $100 million a month.

Nienow has been sharply critical of the stadium's financing plan, virtually from the get go, and again in a statement he released today:

"Are we really going to build a sports stadium and take money from education, health care and maintaining roads? In who's world was this a good idea? When the stadium bill was debated, I said the E-pulltab revenue source was based on 'fairies and fufu dust. It appears I have been proven correct."

Thus far, lawmakers have been loath to reopen the stadium debate, in part because they're grappling with yet another budget shortfall and issues like same-sex marriage, property tax relief and other matters.

But the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Sports Facilities, a 12-legislator panel appointed to watch over the stadium process, may take up discussion of the matter yet this session. Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday said Nienow was trying to "shoot his mouth off" and says that the state needs more patience with the pulltabs and to wait a little longer to see how the games work out.

Here's what Nienow is proposing: