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GOP Lawmakers Seek Vikings Stadium Money For Veterans Homes

By Vikings – WCCO | CBS Minnesota

minnesota veterans homes GOP Lawmakers Seek Vikings Stadium Money For Veterans Homes

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Republican lawmakers are looking at an unusual funding source for three new veterans homes: U.S. Bank Stadium.

It turns out that the special fund set aside for paying off the billion-dollar stadium is growing faster than expected. And some lawmakers want to take from the Vikes to pay vets.

“I can’t think of a better use of the ‘People’s Stadium’ money to go toward the people’s veterans homes,” said Rep. Sarah Anderson (R), State Government Finance Committee.

Minnesota has a critical shortage of veterans medical and nursing home facilities, forcing many vets to drive hours for care.

“Once and for all get the job done so that services delayed will not be denied anymore, and that we fully honor the moral obligation of taking care of veterans,” said Bemidji veteran Joe Vene.

(credit: CBS)

The state currently operates veterans homes in Minneapolis, Hastings, Luverne, Fergus Falls and Silver Bay.

The Republican plan aims to create three more locations: Preston, Bemidji and Montevideo. But the cost to build and operate is steep.

The excess funding comes from much higher-than-expected pull tab revenues, which go into that stadium fund, and could fluctuate from year to year.

Gov. Mark Dayton says he is open to building new veterans homes, but not by “raiding” the Vikings stadium. He calls the GOP plan legislative “meddling.”

“If we have a problem, then [Republicans] are all over us. When something is doing well, like the stadium and reserve fund … building a strong foundation, then they want to raid the money,” Dayton said.

The governor estimates building three new veterans homes will cost a minimum of $66 million.

He says he is willing to support that if Republicans do what the state normally does for large construction projects: borrow the money and pay it back over time.

Source:: CBS Minnesota

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