Reporting Pat Kessler
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — State lawmakers said at a Thursday news conference that the Republicans in the Minnesota House will hold a vote on the current bill for a new stadium.
The Minnesota Senate’s top Republican says a financing plan for a new Vikings stadium won’t be part of a construction projects package.
Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem said Thursday that a GOP stadium proposal first floated Tuesday is now separate from the construction bill because of complications related to using state borrowing to pay for a stadium. That plan has since been abandoned.
Senjem says that method of financing is running into snags.
Instead, he says, lawmakers are now considering user fees on items such as tickets and concessions to pay for the stadium, possibly with a gambling expansion — a proposal that has met with resistance from rank-and-file Republican legislators.
House Speaker Kurt Zellers said he would not support the current Vikings stadium bill without a referendum. He also said it’s up to Dayton and the authors of the bill to get enough votes for the bill to pass.
Senjem said he does not know if there are enough votes in the Minnesota Senate for the bill to pass, assuming it passes the House on Monday.
Gov. Mark Dayton did not speak publicly about the matter Thursday, but issued a statement saying he’s pleased that there will at least be a vote.
“I am very pleased that the Republican legislative leaders have agreed to my request for up-or-down votes in both bodies on a new ‘People’s Stadium’ that would provide jobs for several thousand Minnesotans and keep the Vikings here. Now everyone will be able to hold legislators accountable for that momentous decision,” Dayton said.
The Democratic governor says the alternative is losing thousands of construction jobs and maybe the team itself. He is urging the stadium backers to contact their legislators before the bill comes up Monday in the House.
Since taking office last January, Dayton has been one of the most vocal boosters of having the state help the team build a replacement for the Metrodome.
“I ask all Minnesotans, who care about the stadium, to contact their legislators and urge them to vote ‘Yes’ next Monday,” Dayton said.
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