Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday he was unsure whether he would call a special legislative session later this year to debate a new Minnesota Vikings stadium.
In announcing that a special session would begin Tuesday to end Minnesota’s 19-day state government shutdown, the DFL governor said he was not ready to decide what to do about the stadium. The Vikings have proposed a $1 billion stadium in Ramsey County’s Arden Hills, but the project would require at least $650 million in state and county public subsidies.
“I haven’t decided,” Dayton told reporters. “It’s not ready to be considered at this point.” The governor also said he would have to consider whether to simply wait until the Legislature convenes for its regular session early next year.
“I take calling a special session very seriously, and something that I would not do lightly,” he added. “And so, it would have to be circumstances that compel it.”
As recently as last week, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf had pressed Dayton to make the stadium part of a special legislative session, which will begin later Tuesday. But the stadium's legislative sponsors announced Friday that they would not make the stadium part of the special session, which is being called to solve the state's $5 billion budget deficit and end an historic, 19-day state government shutdown.
Lester Bagley, the Vikings vice president for public affairs and stadium development, had little reaction to Dayton's comments. "We are assessing our options," he said. Pressed to say what the options might be, Bagley declined and repeated, “We are assessing our options and until we sort that out, we don’t have anything to say.”
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