Letter: Stadium user fee would be better optionFor over a decade, we as Minnesotans have debated a new Vikings stadium. It appears that in the next few days we will finally bring closure to that debate with the Legislature either approving or rejecting a stadium plan.
By: John Howe, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
For over a decade, we as Minnesotans have debated a new Vikings stadium. It appears that in the next few days we will finally bring closure to that debate with the Legislature either approving or rejecting a stadium plan.
I feel strongly that the Vikings are a Minnesota statewide asset that contributes to our quality of life, just as the arts, recreation facilities and state parks do, and that we should make a reasonable effort to keep them here. After listening to the people in my district, I settled on three principles that would guide my decision-making on the stadium. Those principles were:
• There should be no statewide tax increase to finance the stadium.
• Both the Vikings and the NFL would have to make a significant financial contribution.
• There would need to be a local partner – a city or county – to contribute to the stadium.
I’ve made an effort to make the bill better by adding user fees to the funding mechanism. When the bill came to the Taxes Committee, I sought to replace the state's share with money from direct user fees on all stadium-related sales and activities, including tickets, merchandise and concessions.
For the first four years the user fee would be less than 10 percent, and then rise to 11.25 percent. This would pay for the state’s share of the project.
As we near the end of the debate, it appears that those user fees may be part of the final mix, and many of my colleagues support the premise that people who use the stadium should bear the cost of building it.
I appreciate all of the input and, as we prepare to vote, my primary concern will continue to be what is in the best interest of the people of Minnesota.
John Howe, a Republican, represents Senate District 28.