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'Purely purple financing': Vikings propose redirecting taxes owners, players, fans already pay for stadium

ST. PAUL The money for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium would come from the owners, players and fans under a "purely purple financing package" touted by the team in newspaper ads running statewide Sunday. Under what it's calling a "but for" financ...

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ST. PAUL

The money for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium would come from the owners, players and fans under a "purely purple financing package" touted by the team in newspaper ads running statewide Sunday.

Under what it's calling a "but for" financing plan, the team would still kick in the $407 million it had been planning.

But instead of roughly $650 million coming from public sources, that money would come through "income taxes currently paid by Vikings players, visiting players and Vikings employees, as well as sales taxes on all the spending by fans inside the stadium."

Thus "all the money would come from sources that would not exist 'but for' the Vikings being in Minnesota," says the ad, published in seven papers Sunday -- including the Pioneer Press -- and one today.

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The team's not talking about having these income or sales taxes increased, said Vikings vice president Lester Bagley.

The idea is to redirect the revenue, which now goes to the state's general fund, to pay off $650 million in stadium bonds.

The plan to use taxes on team employees and fans to pay some of the cost of the stadium has been around for a long time.

Taxes paid by Vikings and visiting players as well as sales taxes on game-site activities totaled $21 million in 2010, Bagley said.

What's new, Bagley said, is an analysis by a consultant working with the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission showing that annual revenue would grow to more than $65 million over 33 years and would be sufficient to pay off the bonds.

State lawmakers have been talking about ways to finance the public portion of the $1.1 billion stadium, which the team wants to put on 430 acres in Arden Hills.

The first of two planned public-input sessions on the stadium issue is scheduled for Tuesday at the state Capitol.

Potential funding sources being discussed include electronic pull tabs; a "racino," combining a race track and casino; and a casino at Block E in downtown Minneapolis.

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But Sunday's ad indicates the team is tired of waiting.

"Sure, there are other financing plans being discussed that raise new revenues, and those plans are acceptable. Problem is, they never seem to leave the discussion stage," the ad says. "It's time to get this done."

Calls to lawmakers and representatives of Gov. Mark Dayton about the "but-for" proposal were not returned Sunday night.

In a related development, State Rep. Terry Morrow, DFL-St. Peter, has announced he will release a stadium financing plan today.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
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