Bill by Sen. Miller would provide
upfront funding for Vikings stadium
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 9:09 AM
State Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) is sponsoring a bill to provide a funding source for the state's entire portion of a new Minnesota Vikings stadium.
At a Thursday Capitol press conference, Miller was joined by Erma Vizenor, chairwoman of the White Earth Tribe, who said the tribe would finance the facilities development and construction costs of the state's portion of a new Vikings stadium with an upfront payment of $400 million. In exchange, the State of Minnesota would regulate and audit a new Twin Cities area casino operated by the tribe. In a unique partnership, future net revenue would be split 50-50 between the tribe and the state.
"When I'm traveling across the district I represent in southeastern Minnesota, the issue that comes up by far more than any other issue is the new Vikings stadium. I agree that it's time to get something done, and I'm extremely excited about this idea," said Miller. "It is definitely the most financially sound and economically feasible plan for the taxpayers in the State of Minnesota, as well as its possibility for creating jobs and the economic stimulus this would help provide to the members of Minnesota's largest and economically poorest tribe."
The White Earth tribe, which includes over 20,000 members, said they would use their share of the net revenue generated from this proposal as a source to build more reliable housing, schools, community clinics and other improvements that would provide an economic boost to northwestern Minnesota as well as the metro area.
Miller said the MinnesotaWins casino will not only deliver a new stadium for the Vikings at virtually no cost to the state, but will also provide tremendous economic benefits, both for the White Earth Nation and for all Minnesotans: "This $700 million construction project, for which White Earth has already been approved for financing, would create an estimated 2,500 jobs during the construction phase and an estimated 2,000 full-time jobs after completion. When combined with a new Vikings stadium, we would have approximately $1.7 billion of construction between the two projects and well over 5,000 jobs during the construction phases."
The bill was introduced by Miller in the Senate this week and has bipartisan support in both houses.
However, legislators have also been talking about an expansion of the charitable gambling industry to include electronic pulltabs as a way to help pay for the stadium. Another concern is that even if the measure gets legislative support and passes, Indian bands with casinos near the metro area would make a court challenge to the possibility of a competitor.