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Lawmakers readying to dig into stadium details

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators, Democrats, Republicans Updated: March 1, 2012 - 1:31 PM

After months of talk about a Minnesota Vikings stadium, lawmakers Thursday said they were looking forward to seeing the actual details of the proposal.

Across the Capitol, lawmakers had as many questions as answers about the proposal Gov. Mark Dayton, the Vikings and stadium backers announced Thursday.

“What do I think of what I know? I don’t know much,” Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove. “It seems like it’s a wish list that three entities have agreed to but the process of making it happen? The Legislature has not been included.”

“It’s kind of a very awkward place to be,” Limmer said. He said reports of a deal, when lawmakers have yet to see a bill “puts a little more tension” at the Capitol.

“We’re anxious to see more details,” he said.

Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, has been an ardent opponent of publicly subsidized stadiums. He said the new Vikings stadium is no different.

Like others, he said the so-called ‘deal’ is nothing of the sort.

“These are the proponents agreeing with each other,” he said.

As to its fate in the Legislature, veteran lawmaker Marty said: “I can name a lot of people in both parties who oppose it. [But] anything’s possible. They’ve got a busload of lobbyists over here working the crowd. They’ve got a lot money behind it. They could win. But they’ve got a huge obstacle.”

Coming off a Senate floor session Thursday mid-day, Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, said he had not seen the Vikings stadium proposal but he would remain open, once it hits the Legislature.

Now that the focus is squarely at the Capitol, he said he expected the emails and phones would light up.
“We still haven’t had anything to date that kicked on the Legislature machinery,” Michel said. “Now I guess there is something to look at.”

Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, wasn't waiting to look. He said Thursday that the Vikings proposal and the St. Croix River Crossing, passed off the U.S. House floor Thursday, were examples of "misplaced priorities."

“Building shiny new projects simply distracts us from tackling obstacles to future prosperity," he said.

Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, had different problems with the proposal. He said the use of electronic pull tabs to fund the state's portion and what looked like an "end run" around the Minneapolis Charter Commission, would be "two sticking points for me for sure."

"I suspect I won't be the lone ranger on that," he said.

 

 

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