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The Capitol Note: Vikings stadium construction to start in early December

Mike Mullen//November 20, 2013

The Capitol Note: Vikings stadium construction to start in early December

Mike Mullen//November 20, 2013

Michele Kelm-Helgen said the groundbreaking date will delay the stadium's completion. (Staff photo: Peter-Bartz Gallagher.)
Michele Kelm-Helgen said the groundbreaking date will not delay the stadium’s completion. (Staff photo: Peter-Bartz Gallagher.)

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.


  • Gov. Mark Dayton will hold private meetings with commissioners and staff today, and will also interview candidates for the Second Judicial District.
  • The Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy will meet at 2:00 p.m. today to review a wide-ranging agenda, including a review of the present condition of the state economy.
  • The Legislative Commission on Metropolitan Government will convene at 12:30 p.m. to elect its leadership positions, and to hold a discussion on the Metropolitan Council and its budget and governance structure for the coming year.


  • Heidi Ann Gunderson has registered to run as a Republican in House District 42B, currently held by Rep. Jason Isaacson, DFL-Shoreview. Isaacson, now in his first term, won election by a margin of 15 percent last year.
  • The Minnesota AFL-CIO announced a series of endorsements of Democratic candidates on Tuesday. The labor union is backing DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken and Gov. Mark Dayton in statewide races, and will back DFL U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison, Tim Walz and Rick Nolan.
  • McClung Communications & Public Relations is hiring for an intern position that would run through the 2014 legislative session. The job is open to college juniors, seniors or graduate students, who will receive course credit and could be offered a monthly stipend. A cover letter, resume and three reference letters can be submitted to Brian McClung at [email protected]. Applications are due Dec. 4.
  • Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, has an early GOP challenger in one of the most safely liberal seats in the state House. Becky Hall, a Duluth-area Tea Party activist, has signed up to run against the popular former college professor, who would be seeking his 12th term in office. Huntley was reelected in 2012 with more than 70 percent of the district vote.


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