Lawmaker: Don’t give the NFL any more breaks for Super Bowl

Exterior view of south entry to new Vikings stadium (Vikings image)

Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, wants the Legislature to say no to subsidizing the NFL.

Again.

He’s introduced legislation to block payments or tax breaks for the NFL if they bring the Super Bowl to the new Vikings stadium in Minneapolis.

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“The people of Minnesota have already given hundreds of millions of dollars to the NFL for a new stadium, and part of that agreement was the Super Bowl being in Minnesota. So we don’t need to pay a second time for something we’ve already paid for,” says Garofalo, who was a yes on the May 8, 2012 vote on the state’s $348 million pledge to help build the Vikings a new $1 billion dollar stadium.

“I expect at the May meeting of the NFL they’re going to give the 2018 Super Bowl to Minnesota. There’s really no reason to pay for something we already have. We’ve already given them a rich subsidy we’re not going to give you an ultra rich subsidy.”

That’s contrary to the NFL’s expectation: MSFA chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen told the Pioneer Press’s Doug Belden last month that the league would be expecting subsidies, like a break on sales taxes on tickets for the game.

Senate majority leader Tom Bakk conceded lawmakers might have to ante up for the game: “It’s going to cost money,” he told the Pioneer Press. “Some of it’s local because we will have to kind of preempt the local government on local sales taxes, local lodging taxes. There’s just kind of a basket of things.”

Garofalo didn’t introduce his plan as an amendment to the 2014 tax bill that passed this week, as some thought he might. But Garofalo says he thinks it can be done. “I expect it will have significant bipartisan report. I bet two thirds of the House will support it,” Garofalo said.

(He has also introduced a bill to allow Sunday off-sale liquor for the Super Bowl)