Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor was making the rounds at the Capitol this week, and while we couldn’t track him down personally, we did find a document he might have been talking about.
It’s the secret plan to end the stadium war.
Timberwolves vice president Ted Johnson supplied the document, in response to inquiries about the plan from MPR. The proposal hasn’t been made public before. He said the team came up with the proposal, hoping a wider stadium solution would include the Timberwolves. Most of the stadium attention at the Capitol is focused on finding a new home for the Minnesota Vikings but the Timberwolves and the city of Minneapolis are seeking a $155 million upgrade to their Target Center home.
Johnson said the plan is missing some key elements of an earlier draft version, that some officials have seen. That plan included:
- A metrowide 1/5 cent sales tax, levied by the Met Council
- Bonding against tobacco settlement funds – the same annual payments that Tim Pawlenty tried to use for a budget solution in 2009.
- A downtown casino that would gross $400 million and realize $125 million in state revenue.
- A Vikings lottery game that realized a little over $1 million in net proceeds, according to lottery officials
Johnson said the Timberwolves floated the plan with the Minnesota Wild; AEG Facilities, the company that manages Target Center, the Vikings and the city of Minneapolis. The list originally included St. Paul
“We haven’t had anyone who said no,” Johnson said when asked about preliminary discussion. He conceded, however, that “we got too far ahead of ourselves,” on the financing plan. He said they dropped the details, at least in the document, on where the money would come from. “We didn’t feel like everybody had time to line up behind it,” Johnson said.
They originally planned to suggest that the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission be given authority over the various arenas and stadium — a plan that wasn’t likely to sit well in St. Paul which has authority over the Xcel Energy Center. Johnson says some new form of regional sports authority could oversee all pro sports venues.
Disagreements and the prospects of realizing the plan aside, it does tie everything up neatly in a bow at the end.