Chris Coleman says Vikings stadium bill screws St. Paul

That $800 million Vikings stadium bill working its way through the Legislature this week amounts to nothing more than "left-over crumbs" for St. Paul, the city's mayor told state lawmakers in a letter yesterday.

At issue: Proposed debt relief for the Target Center in Minneapolis that could put the financial future of the Xcel center at risk; and a new Saint Paul Saints stadium and downtown hockey rink taking a back seat to TCF Bank Stadium and Target Field.

"I have been a consistent and strong advocate for "regionalism" -- the concept that we will all do better in the Twin Cities Metropolitan region if we stop fighting each other and start working together," Chris Coleman said in a letter to lawmakers. "But I have also made it clear that "regionalism" does not mean one area of the region gets all of the critical assets and the rest of the region gets the left-over crumbs."

Under the plan introduced Monday, the Vikings would pay $264 million up-front for construction costs. The remaining $527 million price tag would be financed by taxpayers over 40 years ($31.9 million per year).

The bill cleared its first major hurdle last night, when the The House Local Government Division approved the measure -- with amendments to how taxes might be used to help pay for the facility -- just before midnight.

The Vikings have not formally endorsed the proposal.

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