Today during a news conference at the state Capitol, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill to build a new multi-purpose stadium that would house Vikings home games as well as a bevy of other events throughout the year. It was an important moment in the Vikings efforts to resolve the stadium issue.
To view the full video of the bill introduction, click here.
With local business and labor leaders also present at the unveiling of the bill, lawmakers touched on several reasons why they think it’s important to build the stadium and also why the timing is appropriate.
– State Rep. Loren Solberg (DFL – Grand Rapids), chief-author of the bill in the House, opened the news conference by saying he was fortunate enough to attend the first ever Vikings game in Minnesota and remembers the team energizing its fans and the state. Rep. Solberg said he believes the Vikings continue to be a source of energy (and economic impact) that is worth retaining in Minnesota.
– Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook), Chairman of the Senate taxes committee and the bill’s chief sponsor, explained that the stadium project would add thousands of jobs in the construction trade, which has been hit hard by recent economic conditions, and he also pointed out that finance rates are low and the costs of the project will only rise next year.
– An important factor to remember in this stadium bill is that the venue would be multi-use, with over 200 calendar days being booked for events and the Vikings using it 10 times per year for home games. Dave Nelson, head football coach at Minnetonka High School, was at the event and spoke about the impact a new stadium would have on high school athletes and their communities, fans and schools.
After giving statements about the bill, legislators fielded questions from a large gathering of reporters. As you’d expect, questions regarding funding were the hot topic.
The bill calls for funding to be provided by only those who would benefit from the stadium, with the Vikings picking up a big chuck of the price tag and then the remaining funding coming from sources such as a sports memorabilia tax and taxes on hotels and rental cars.
State Rep. Morrie Lanning (R-Moorhead), also a co-author of the bill, said in his opening comments that he’s concluded the majority of Minnesota citizens can agree on 2 things: 1) they want the Vikings to remain in Minnesota and 2) they don’t want general fund monies subsidizing a new stadium. Lanning clearly believes the bill unveiled Monday accomplishes both of those tasks.
“Purple Pride reigns in Minnesota, and people overwhelmingly want the Vikings to stay in Minnesota for many years to come,” Rep. Lanning said. “Keeping the Vikings in Minnesota will require a local government partner as well as enabling state legislation.
“If the Vikings were to leave, Minnesota would lose a state asset and $20 million dollars or more in tax revenue every year,” Lanning continued. “That’s money we use to fund our schools, nursing homes, and public safety. As we work to rebuild Minnesota’s economy, we have to do everything within reason to maintain our quality of life and keep our state moving toward economic recovery.”
Go http://www.minnesotamomentum.com for more details on the bill that was introduced on Monday.
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