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They cheered the handful of key officials who helped shepherd the project to approval through the tricky channels of state and city politics. One of the luminaries who appeared on stage to tout the design was former Vikings head coach Bud Grant, who took the team to four Super Bowls.

“I’ve always been an advocate of outdoor football,” Grant said. “Not anymore.”

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority unanimously approved the design, forwarding it on to the city of Minneapolis for review.

Minnesota lawmakers hoped they could pay for the stadium without new taxes, relying instead on electronic gambling devices in bars and restaurants to cover $348 million in state debt.

But establishments and their patrons have been slow to embrace the new games, and the money has been barely trickling in. The law gave state officials the power to launch a new scratch-off lottery game and impose suite taxes to cover any gaps, but there has been no indication they will.

Instead, Gov. Mark Dayton and top legislators are working over various options, including a new sports memorabilia tax, to make up the difference.

Bonds to pay for stadium construction are supposed to be sold in August, but the state might alter the process to keep costs down. They’ve insisted that construction will proceed as scheduled.

The Vikings and the NFL are on the hook for $477 million, including a $200 million loan from the league. The city of Minneapolis will contribute $150 million, through redirection of existing hospitality sales taxes.

“We’re using public money, but at the same time it’s going to benefit the public,” Sullivan said. “In my mind, as a taxpaying resident of the state of Minnesota, that seems like a good way to spend our tax dollars.”


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