Bakk: Super Bowl tax breaks unlikely this year

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said today that he doubts the Legislature will approve any bill that gives tax breaks to help Minnesota land a Super Bowl.

“I think it’s unlikely that legislation would go forward this year,” Bakk told reporters.

Minnesota is in the running to land the 2018 Super Bowl, but NFL officials are likely looking for a sales tax exemption on ticket sales, among other tax breaks.

Gov. Dayton and DFL legislative leaders met privately last week to discuss the prospects of including tax breaks for the Super Bowl in this year’s tax bill. Bakk said it is possible state leaders could send the NFL a letter committing to the tax breaks.

Bakk said one reason the Legislature is unlikely to act on a bill is because they’re still working to untangle the relationship between state and local taxes as they relate to the NFL. For example, he said the state could waive state lodging and sales taxes for tickets, but Minneapolis has a lodging tax, a local sales tax for the Twins stadium and a downtown entertainment tax.

Bakk said it’s unlikely that exempting player salaries from the income tax would be included in any legislation.

Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said Indianapolis, Ind., and New Orleans, La., which are also in the running for the 2018 game, provided tax breaks when they hosted the Super Bowl in 2012 and 2013. Kelm-Helgen said Indianapolis saw a net increase in tax revenues after hosting the Super Bowl in 2012.

Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, said the state shouldn’t provide any more tax breaks for a Super Bowl, given that taxpayers are already contributing $498 million for the new stadium. Garofalo proposed a bill this year that would ban any additional public subsidies to land a Super Bowl.

Bakk, however, said the decision to delay action on tax breaks for now does not mean the subject is closed.

“I’d certainly like to see Minnesota land a Super Bowl,” Bakk said.