ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — The Minnesota House has voted to pass the $975 million stadium bill late Monday night.
The amended plan that passed 73-58 Monday night would raise the Vikings’ share to $532 million, or about 55 percent of construction costs.
That knocks about $105 million off the state’s contribution.
The team has said it wouldn’t pay more than $427 million.
The Senate will consider its own version of the bill. Differences would be worked out in a conference committee.
The Vikings haven’t openly threatened to leave Minnesota, and are committed to playing in the 30-year-old Metrodome this season.
But stadium boosters, led by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, say punting on the proposal could set up a nightmare three-peat for Minnesota sports fanatics. After all, the state lost the NBA’s Lakers to Los Angeles in 1960 and the NHL’s North Stars to Dallas in 1993.
“Nobody wants the Vikings to leave the state of Minnesota. Nobody wants that to happen,” said Rep. Sarah Anderson, a suburban Minneapolis Republican who is undecided how she’ll vote on Monday. “It’s just a matter of figuring out whether this package will work and is a good deal for our taxpayers.”
Stadium support doesn’t break down neatly — it has Democratic and Republican backers, but also plenty of opponents in both parties.
Fiscally conservative Republicans loathe the potential handout, but the party’s business wing wants to preserve a valuable asset in the city’s core. Democrats — especially the party’s labor base — crave the thousands of hardhat jobs that would come with a new stadium.
The Vikings would have to kick in $427 million — which isn’t enough for some lawmakers.
“I’m concerned about whether the owner is footing enough of the bill,” said Sen. Julianne Ortman, the Senate’s deputy Republican leader. “I’m really concerned that what we’ve got is a minority partner in this project dictating the terms, wagging the dog if you will.”
Ortman said she thinks fears about the team’s possible departure have been overhyped, but signs of pressure are everywhere.
Vikings fans have roamed the Capitol for days, adorned with face paint, horned helmets and purple-and-gold superhero costumes. Schoolchildren on field trips have shown up to the Capitol in jerseys. And a few die-hards presided over a mock tailgate outside of the building.
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