Memorabilia tax could help state fund portion of Vikings stadium

A report conducted by a nonpartisan group suggests that a sales tax on sports memorabilia – everything from T-shirts to hats and posters – could generate almost two-thirds of the state of Minnesota’s $30 million annual contribution for a new football stadium.

Lawmakers have been wrestling over how to push a stadium bill through the State Capital this spring, and most reports indicate that it’s going to be a tough sell. The state is $5 billion in debt and there’s opposition to using public funds to help build a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.

However, this report indicates that a great chunk of the money would come from a 10 percent tax on wholesale sales of sports memorabilia, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The plan is for the Vikings, state government and local government to divide the cost of a new stadium. The local government, in the plan, will be able to increase its sales tax without going to the voters for approval.

But there are a lot of obstacles and imagine the reaction of the Vikings and the NFL from a plan to place a 5 percent surcharge on income Vikings players and visiting players get for playing in the new stadium. Good luck selling that plan to the league.

The memorabilia tax would not just be placed on NFL items but any kind of sporting merchandise you can imagine, including professional wrestling. It’s clear some creative financing will be needed. We’ll see if this plan can gain any traction.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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