1.) Construction on the Minnesota Vikings stadium will start on Dec. 3, about a month later than state officials had hoped, the Star Tribune reports. Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chair Michelle Kelm-Helgen said the slight delay would not push the stadium’s completion date past opening day of the 2016 NFL season. The announcement signals the state reaching an agreement with Mortenson Construction on a $738 million contract to build the facility, which Kelm-Helgen said would come as advertised, and will include features the Minnesota Vikings and the state have announced publicly. “We’ve not made any design changes,” she said. “No one will notice any significant changes.” Negotiations on the new stadium were prolonged due to the inability to arrive at a plan that retained the original stadium design without running over the budget allowance outlined in statute. The MSFA will vote to approve the stadium construction contract on Friday.
2.) The state of Minnesota is planning to honor a judge’s ruling in a lawsuit over state tax revenue that could cost up to $17 million, according to the Associated Press. The Department of Revenue does not plan to appeal a September ruling in favor of SAP Retail, a local software company that sued over $500,000 worth of sales tax assessments. The state tax agency had, at one point, levied more than $700,000 worth of sales taxes for the technology firm’s consulting work for Best Buy, but the company argued that its consulting fees had already been factored into a previously agreed-upon contract. The judge’s disposition could lead to other awards for similarly situated companies, and Department of Revenue deputy commissioner Matt Massman said the state is now assessing its total liabilities related to the decision. “We’re going to live with this decision for this narrow tax scenario,” he said.
3.) A report from the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) has found that the Sustainable Forest Incentive Program is not spending the state’s money wisely, and should be considered for termination during the next legislative session, the Associated Press reports. Legislative auditor Jim Nobles testified to the Legislative Audit Commission that the program, which has spent $44 million since its enactment in 2001, has failed to produce “measurable results” that correspond with that spending figure. More than 2,000 landowners are currently receiving state payments of $7 per acre to follow certain practices.
COMINGS & GOINGS