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Lawmakers introduce Vikings stadium bills

ST. PAUL -- Legislative bills to build a football stadium and keep the Minnesota Vikings in the state for the next 40 years are being introduced today.

A bill by Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, was listed early today on the Senate's daily bill introduction list and an identical one by Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, was expected to follow.

The bills call for a 10 percent tax on trading cards, jerseys and other sports-related memorabilia, the creation of a tax on players' salaries and the use of proceeds from stadium naming rights and a lottery game to pay down the state's contribution to the stadium.

The bills do not specify whether where the stadium would be, but it would expected to be in Hennepin or Ramsey county. The plan requires potential local partners to submit proposals outlining how they would arrive at their portion of the cost of a stadium.

The Vikings would be required to pay at least a third of the stadium's cost. Local tax increases could make up another third, with the state taxes finishing out the financing.

Upon completion of a stadium, the bill would require the Vikings to sign a 40-year lease.

In addition to chief author Rosen the Senate bill was signed by Sen. John Harrington, DFL-St. Paul, Sen. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton, and Sen. Linda Scheid, DFL-Brooklyn Park.

Legislative leaders have been cool to a stadium, not wanting to talk about the subject until they finish a two-year state budget. Republicans in control of the Legislature also have opposed raising taxes, a key provision of the Lanning-Rosen plan.

Andrew Tellijohn is a Twin Cities Freelance writer covering the Minnesota Legislature for Forum Communications Co. newspapers.