Governor disputes House funding for veteran homes

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E-pull tabs were created to help pay for the U.S. Bank Stadium. As they gain popularity, lawmakers have started disputing how the money pouring into the stadium reserve fund should be spent. 

House Republicans want to use some of the proceeds from the reserve fund to help veterans. 

“We need new homes for our veterans, the Vikings already have a home,” said Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake). 

Lawmakers and veterans groups want to build three new veterans homes in Preston, Bemidji and Montevideo with reserve funds from the U.S. Bank Stadium. 

The Department of Management and Budget said there is currently $27 million in the stadium reserve account. The reserve was created to pay for building costs and repairs. 

House Republicans say the fund is expected to swell to $120 million by the end of the next biennium. That’s why they want to transfer $30 million to pay for the veterans homes and the governor’s office of sexual harassment. 

“This is the excess of the excess fund,” said Rep. Sarah Anderson, Chair of the State Government Finance Committee. “If you were to consider as like we baked the cake, we frosted the cake, this is now the frosting that you have left over that you are going to throw into the trash. That’s what we’re talking about.” 

But in a letter to the House, State Budget Director Myron Frans called it all “forecasted growth”—not real money. He went on to say that “reducing the reserve at this time is not responsible fiscal management.” 

Rep. Jim Knoblach, the Chair of Ways and Means fired back, “It’s in fact your budget that’s not responsible.” 

In the end, it could be Governor Mark Dayton who has the final word. 

“It’s just no,” said Gov. Dayton. “It’s not going to happen.” 

The money will all be part of the House supplemental budget bill that lawmakers continued to debate Thursday evening.