Minn. Senate eyes user fees for Vikings stadiumThe Minnesota Senate pushed more Vikings stadium financing costs in the direction of the team and fans Tuesday as supporters grasped for extra votes to keep the proposal alive.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Senate pushed more Vikings stadium financing costs in the direction of the team and fans Tuesday as supporters grasped for extra votes to keep the proposal alive.
Ahead of a critical vote on the nearly $1 billion facility, senators revamped a longstanding stadium plan to impose a collection of user fees while also increasing the upfront private contribution by $25 million.
Passage by the Senate would set up final negotiations and precede a new round of votes by the Legislature. The House approved a bill Monday that requires the team to kick in $532 million toward the stadium — $105 million above what a franchise official previously called a “set in stone” ceiling.
It was clear stadium supporters wanted to turn to offense rather than defense as the bill reached the Senate. It was Sen. Julie Rosen, the stadium bill sponsor, who promoted user fees on suites, parking and Vikings merchandise. Another backer pushed for the higher team contribution, and that amendment was approved unanimously.
The user fee amendment — adopted on a 40-26 vote — would levy a 10 percent fee on suites and on parking within a half-mile of the stadium, and impose a 6.875 percent fee on Vikings clothing, trading cards and other memorabilia.
Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, said the deal to date has been negotiated by people too willing to please the team.
“When stadium proponents are putting things on that make the deal less appealing to the Vikings, you wonder if it’s been put on just for the purpose of attracting votes and then getting pulled out in conference committee,” said Thompson, the leader of the conservative faction within the Senate GOP caucus. “But I guess time will tell.”