Reporting Pat Kessler
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Mark Dayton is ready to call a special session before Thanksgiving to vote on a Vikings stadium. But not all lawmakers are convinced a deal can be done.
Gov. Mark Dayton announced that he has a plan to move forward with a new stadium on Monday afternoon.
He met with Republicans who lead the House and Senate. Dayton is calling for a Vikings stadium bill within a month and a special session beginning Nov. 21. The governor warns that it’s unrealistic to think the Vikings won’t leave if they don’t get a stadium.
“If you’ve been around and a sports fan as long as I have, you know it didn’t use to be the Indianapolis Colts, it was the Baltimore Colts. It used to be the Los Angeles Rams not the St. Louis Rams, it used to be the St. Louis Cardinals, not the Arizona Cardinals ,” said Dayton. “Teams move if they don’t have the wherewithal at their present site to support their operation.”
Dayton said the Vikings and the NFL have a right to know whether Minnesota will support a new stadium for the team. And if not, the Vikings have the ability to make a decision, including moving out of Minnesota.
The governor realizes that it may not be a winning season so far, but he said this is a decision that will affect the state for years to come. He said this is a critical week in determining how the county, state and team will move forward.
“It couldn’t be a worse season to be trying to build public support for a stadium, but we’re talking about the next 50 years, not the next 10 games. I want to weigh the options with legislative leaders, and reach an agreement on how to proceed if not what the outcome is going to be,” he said.
One big problem with the governor’s special session plan: There’s no agreement on the need for a stadium, no agreement on how to pay for one and no agreement on how many votes there are to pass it.
“I would like the Vikings to have a stadium. I think there are great devils in the details of who’s paying for it. And I haven’t come to an agreement on that,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch.
“We’re in tough economic times. The state of Minnesota writing out a check for $300 million, I don’t think you’ve heard anybody say it’s a good idea. I think Amy and I have been very consistent all along if there’s a creative solution tied to the game,” said Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers.
The Vikings say they are “appreciative and grateful” to the governor for putting the meeting together, and also legislative leaders for what the Vikings hope is their “serious consideration.”
Dayton also said he called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to tell him about the planned special session. Goodell has already reminded the governor there’s a new stadium on the way in Los Angeles.