Senator Nelson Statement on Proposed Vikings Stadium
It is nearly unanimous that no one wants the Vikings to leave the state and neither do I. However, in times of fiscal crisis, state general fund dollars should not be used to fund stadiums. While I recognize the economic importance the Vikings bring to the state, it is the responsibility of the Vikings to bring forth a creative financing proposal to the legislature. Unfortunately, the Vikings were very late in getting their proposal ready for the 2011 legislative session. Consequently, it did not get a single hearing during session, but the Vikings are now working with the Governor and the authors of the bill (SF 1164) to advance the proposal.
The players, those who participate, and those who profit should provide funds for a Vikings Stadium in a financially responsible way. This being said, I am still considering other financing ideas. I am interested in capturing revenue that would not be there “but for” the Vikings Stadium. Other states have used the, “but for” clause for state financing options. Minnesota should consider this option as well. Other ideas include, but are not limited to: seat licensing agreements, user fees, and racino funding. Stadium proposals should also be for a multi-purpose stadium. This would allow for conventions, concerts, sporting events, and other activities to generate business as well.
Regarding a referendum, I will not support any state legislative prohibition on a referendum. Referendum decisions are best made by local units of government and their constituents.