Dayton: Surprise stadium backup financing plan in the works

MPR Photo: Jennifer Simonson

Governor Mark Dayton said today that a “surprise” backup funding plan for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium is in the works.

Electronic pull tab revenue, which was authorized in last year, has fallen far short of projections to cover the state share of the stadium project.

Dayton would not provide any specifics, but he told reporters at a press conference Wednesday that he’s been talking to House and Senate leaders about ways to shore up the funding. He stressed that the plan does not involve the Vikings or Minnesota citizens paying more.

“We’re looking at a couple options. We don’t have it nailed down. But I want and the leadership in both the House and Senate want to have a backup source that is absolutely secure and absolutely sufficient to cover whatever the shortfall is with the e-pull tabs and the bingo.”

He declined to talk about what it might be. “I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise,” he said, although he did add that the sports memorabilia tax is not part of the plan. UPDATE: The Star Tribune’s Baird Helgeson is reporting that closing “tax loopholes” are a likely option.

“It’s something that you’d never even imagine,” he said.

Dayton said he still thinks the e-pull tab revenue will improve, but he said a backup plan is important for the integrity of the stadium project. He suggested details of the plan will come out sometime after next week’s unveiling of the stadium design, scheduled for Monday night. The Legislative session ends May 20th.

– with reporting from Tim Pugmire