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Countdown To Stadium Hearings At State Capitol

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77648_Pat Kessler WEB Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – The Minnesota Senate on Tuesday will hold highly-anticipated hearings on whether to build the Minnesota Vikings a new stadium.

The Senate calls them “informational” hearings, but the Vikings believe the state has all of the information it needs.

It’s asking lawmakers to make a call — yes or no — before the team’s Metrodome lease expires in a couple months, making the Vikings free agents.

“Part of the problem and part of the reason why it hasn’t been resolved is because there has been no deadline,” said Lester Bagley, spokesman for the Minnesota Vikings. “Now there’s a deadline.”

In newspaper ads on Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings upped the ante by unveiling a plan to pay for a stadium by redirecting $21 million of state income taxes from football players.

One lawmaker helping to write a Vikings bill says it should be taken seriously.

“I personally think the Vikings will leave at some point if there is not a new stadium,” said Rep. Terry Morrow, DFL-St. Peter. “So to do nothing is to take a position.”

Top Republicans were blindsided by the Vikings’ plan to use tax money to pay for the stadium and some were irritated by the Sunday ads.

One said privately: “It’s a horrible, horrible idea … the worst idea since New Coke.”

The Minnesota Vikings say they will ask the legislature to pick a plan — any plan — before it’s too late.

“This thing is coming to a head. It needs to come to a head. It needs to be resolved,” Bagley said.

Tuesday’s hearing will focus on where a Vikings stadium would go — the Vikings’ preferred site in Arden Hills or three different sites in Minneapolis.

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