Vikings stadium backup funding hits new snag

Licensed items retails say would be covered by a memorabilia tax (MPR Photo/Tim Nelson)

A proposal to tax sports memorabilia to help backfill disappointing Vikings stadium revenues has come up against another state institution:  Target.

Senate tax chair Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, says lawmakers are rethinking the 10 to 13 percent tax on jerseys, bats, balls, gloves, shoes, trading cards and all manner of other sports-themed products, even children’s onezies and dresses, like these at SuperTarget.

“Target brings all their memorabilia in to Minnesota that they distribute across the whole country,” Skoe said Tuesday. “The tax is implemented at the wholesale level, so it would impact all of that. So we’re concerned about all of that.”

Lawmakers in the House and Senate added the measure to the tax bill this session in response to disappointing results from electronic pulltabs and bingo. They’re bringing in a small fraction of their expected revenue, and are rolling out at a pace much slower than anyone anticipated.

Skoe said the Senate tax committee is weighing options. He isn’t sure now whether the state needs to dedicate revenue to the stadium bonds — they’re funded out of the general fund anyway. The state will likely have to pay about $30 million a year in debt service. “We’re going to look around and see if we can’t find some other revenues if we need to, in order to make sure the state fulfills its obligation to build a new Vikings stadium,” Skoe said.

Target didn’t immediately return a request for comment.