Sen. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton, and Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, took the stage over on Block E this morning to talk about their proposal to authorize a state-sanctioned casino on Hennepin Avenue.
Magnus said during the press conference that he expected it could bring $125 million or more to the state, and that he’d like it to go toward $1.2 to $1.5 billion dollars of transportation bonding. And maybe even a Vikings stadium.
Co-sponsor Kriesel was a little more circumspect about the idea and said he just wanted it to go toward infrastructure. “There’s a lot of guys out of work out there,” he said in an interview. He’d like to use the casino to put them to work.
Developer Bob Lux said he thought it could help bring 4 million new people to downtown. His handout promises a $50 million upfront fee and $250 per biennium thereafter.
He also said a 3% tax could put about $13 million a year on Minneapolis’ bottom line. City Council president Barb Johnson said in an interview it would likely go to the general fund — she specifically said she didn’t want it to go for the city’s share of a new NFL stadium.
We also couldn’t help but notice that it looked like artist Dale Chihuly might get a piece of the casino action, too. That sculpture in the lobby sure looks a lot like his Sunburst hanging in the lobby of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.