Before its first committee hearing, it’s possible that Rep. Lanning’s Vikings stadium plan might be unraveling:
The new plan offers more tax relief to the charities than Dayton had offered. Charities pay taxes on they raise money through gambling operations, and groups have complained for years the burden is too heavy.
According to Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans, allowing electronic forms of pulltab and bingo, which are now played on paper as fund-raisers for charities, would generate a total of $125 million per year.
Seventy-two million dollars of that total would flow to the state as tax revenue, but Dayton offered to give $10 million of that to the charities as tax relief. The bottom line was that the state would get $62.5 million for stadium bonds and the charities would get $62.5 million in tax relief and revenue.
The new proposal splits the $72 million equally, $36 million for the state and $36 million for the charities.
That’s a problem for the state because it’s estimated to need $38 million per year in the early years to pay down the stadium bonds. So if tipboards are in fact illegal and can’t be a tax revenue source for the state, another source would have to be found, officials said.
The House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee might table the amendment because it’s a) a hastily-prepared amendment with a high level of revenue uncertainty and volatility and b) there’s no fiscal note for it. Passing an amendment of this import without that type of information and without ample hearing time is reckless legislating.
That’s the procedural consideration. That’s before factoring in whether the bill a) generates the revenue that’s needed or b) shortchanges the charities because one revenue streams isn’t legal. Both considerations need full hearings. Based on this document, I’d argue that the tipboard is illegal:
The responsible thing would be to gather information tonight, then table the bill until after the Passover/Easter recess.