BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - The Mall of America is looking to double in size and taxpayer money could be used to cover some of the costs.
The $1.5 billion plan calls for the mall to extend over Lindau Lane into the north parking lot and connecting to IKEA.
It's a plan the city of Bloomington would love to see happen, but a proposal to subsidize the project with $250 million of taxpayer money is being met with some resistance.
That's because the money wouldn't just come from Bloomington, it would come from seven counties in the Metro that make up a fiscal disparities pool.
Since the 1970s, the counties have been contributing a portion of their property tax growth into the pool, which then gets redistributed. It's a way for faster growing counties to share the wealth.
"The money is supposed to be distributed through communities to help stabilize the region on a general level," says Bob DeBoer with the Citizen's League.
DeBoer says using a $250 million chunk exclusively for one business, Mall of America, is unprecedented and unfair.
"It's not designed to actually fund programs," says Deboer. "And certainly not meant to fund private development."
Schane Rudlang with Bloomington's economic development arm argues what is good for the mall is good for the region so asking everyone to chip in $250 million dollars is a fair deal.
"The state, county, city and region all benefit from the project so we think that's an appropriate funding source," says Rudlang.
He also argues that Bloomington puts more money into the fund than anyone else.
"Since the early 70s when fiscal disparities were put into place, that's when Bloomington has grown so that's why we are the biggest loser," says Rudlang.
If they are successful in getting the money, Bloomington and Mall of America could come out the biggest winner.
The legislature has to approve any change to this fund and the house and senate have both approved different versions of the funding plan.
A final version is currently being hashed out in conference committee.
If Mall of America doesn't get the money, Bloomington worries the mall may have to scale down its expansion plans.
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