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Minnesota Budget Chief Faces Backlash on Vikings Bill

Andy Barth, Photo by WJON.com’s Jim Maurice

ST. PAUL (AP) – Minnesota’s budget chief says he will likely wait until summer before deciding whether to activate so-called blink-on revenue options for the new Vikings football stadium.

Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter encountered sharp questions Monday from lawmakers who are worried that general tax dollars will be needed to compensate for poor results from expanded gambling. Finance officials said last week that the electronic pull-tabs are producing only a tiny fraction of anticipated revenue to pay off future state debt on the stadium.

Last year’s stadium law gives Schowalter power to initiate a sport-themed lottery game and impose a luxury suite tax to make up for shortages in e-pull tab revenue.

Bonds for the stadium won’t be sold until August and major construction is even further away.

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