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Vikings stadium funding shortfalls discussed at Capitol

ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton is inviting key lawmakers to discuss how to plug Vikings stadium funding shortfalls.

Electronic pulltab profits are bringing in far less than projected last year to pay the state’s portion of a nearly $1 billion downtown Minneapolis stadium. Dayton said he is not worried, but action is needed before lawmakers adjourn for the year by May 20.

“I think this has been blown so far out of proportion,” he said Monday.

Bonds the state planned to sell in August, for the first stadium construction costs, cannot be let then, he said. “Given all of the turmoil ... we can’t issue the bonds.”

The public and legislators demand that “we put this thing to rest,” Dayton added.

A Minnesota Lottery official’s comment that his agency could introduce a slot machine-like game would be “part of the discussion,” the governor said.

In the meantime, Republicans who opposed the e-pulltab stadium funding solution are offering their ideas.

Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, said that he is looking at a couple of things discussed last year, including taxing seats and items sold at the stadium. Another possibility he said he is examining would tax businesses in the area of the stadium that benefit from the new facility.

The state would need to repay $20 million to $40 million in stadium loans annually over the next several years. Dayton said that is not significant given the state’s $38 billion, two-year budget.

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