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Minnesota lawmaker wants casino to fund stadium

6 March 2009

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota -- As reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: "Two hot-button issues at the State Capitol -- gambling and a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings -- came together Thursday in new legislation that proposed using revenue from a new Twin Cities metro casino to build the much-discussed stadium.

"Saying his constituents were adamant about not wanting the Vikings to leave Minnesota, Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, said his plan would propose a constitutional amendment, asking voters in 2010 whether revenues from a new casino should be used to finance a new stadium. Hackbarth said bonds would be issued to finance the stadium's construction -- work would begin almost immediately if the amendment passed in November 2010 -- and the Vikings would have to sign at least a 30-year lease and enlist a local government partner to help bring about the project.

"'Let's let the voters decide,' said Hackbarth, who acknowledged he had not spoken to the Vikings and had floated a similar proposal five years ago that gained little political traction. 'I think this is a perfect solution' because there would not be a general tax increase, he said.

"State legislators, and even the Vikings, were cool to the idea. 'We're not advocating for a gaming situation,' said Lester Bagley, a spokesman for the Vikings, who have been searching unsuccessfully for a way to kick-start debate on a stadium at the Legislature..."

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