SBD/June 6, 2011/Facilities

Vikings, Ramsey County Can End Agreement July 1 If Stadium Not Approved

Vikings' stadium deal with Ramsey County allows both parties to walk away on July 1
The Vikings and Ramsey County "can end their preliminary agreement to build a $1 billion stadium in Arden Hills on July 1" if the state legislature "does not approve the project," according to Kaszuba & Olson of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The agreement gives both parties "wide 'walk away' rights." There were "fresh signs on Friday of the hurdles a Vikings stadium faces." Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton sent Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf a letter in which he reiterated that the project "would not move forward until there was an agreement on how to fund $131 million in state road improvements and further details on the public's role in building and operating the stadium." Kaszuba & Olson also noted "much will hinge" on Minnesota's government "first finding a solution to the state's $5.1 billion deficit" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 6/4). In St. Paul, Frederick Melo noted Dayton has put the Vikings "on alert" by saying that he cannot support the stadium project "without knowing who will foot the bill" for the road improvements. Dayton "also asked to see a stadium partnership agreement spelled out," saying, "We have yet to see a plan that would result in a proper partnership with the state in the construction, ownership and operation of the stadium." Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said, "We forwarded (to the chairs of the House tax and transportation committees) what we believe to be a comprehensive transportation finance plan ... and have gotten generally positive feedback on the proposal. But we're not there yet." Bagley added, "We're willing to give the state the appropriate level of authority in terms of operations, ownership. ... We're trying to address that issue" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 6/4).

CAN'T TAX THE PLAYERS: In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman notes one "big change" that will have to be made in the bill before the legislature considers it is the "elimination of the proposed income tax surcharge on the salaries of NFL players." Another type of tax "will have to fund the stadium because NFL sources believe it's illegal." Bagley said, "The NFL has raised the concern that it may not be constitutional to tax one class of people, to single them out" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 6/6).
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