By KEVIN DUCHSCHERE
After more than two hours discussing Vikings stadium matters behind closed doors Friday morning, Gov. Mark Dayton, House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch emerged to say they had "a very cooperative, constructive meeting" but no new developments to report.
"There's no breakthrough moment here to discuss, because we haven't reach that point," Dayton said.
"Nothing earthshaking" happened, Zellers chimed in.
They said they will meet again next week and gather more information to try to arrive at some conclusions by the time of the deer hunting opener next Saturday.
The DFL governor and the two Republican leaders took questions shortly before noon outside the governor's office. Among other things, they said they discussed the new Minneapolis financing plans for three downtown sites that were unveiled Thursday by Mayor R.T. Rybak.
Dayton said they looked at the various options, discussed tradeoffs and clarified points of information. They also talked about the governor's chopper tour Thursday of the Vikings' preferred site, in Arden Hills, and the downtown Minneapolis sites promoted by Rybak and City Council President Barbara Johnson.
Dayton said that looking at the sites from the air convinced him that a stadium in either Arden Hills or Minneapolis would be an economic boon and benefit Minnesota taxpayers.
The leaders did not firm up plans for a Thanksgiving special session on the stadium issue, which Dayton says he would call for late November should there be legislative agreement on a stadium plan. The governor intends to put forward his own proposal by Nov. 7.
The governor declined to say which financing options were discussed, for fear that it might appear he's favoring them. Contrary to news reports, he said, he was not for using Legacy dollars to help finance a Vikings stadium. Nor was he foreclosing any options, including Legacy funding from the sales tax that voters put in the state constitution for arts, environmental and cultural heritage projects. A Vikings stadium presumably would fall under the latter category.
"This is a complicated process and it's going to take a very creative solution. That takes time," Zellers said.