Gov. Mark Dayton has not ruled out using taxpayer money slated for the environment and arts causes to be used for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium.
“All options, as far as I am concerned, should be considered,” he said Wednesday.
Dayton didn’t embrace the idea, but didn’t immediately reject the proposal, either. Democrats are lining up to blast the idea, saying they would file a lawsuit to block any effort to use Legacy funding for the stadium.
“I appreciate those who are willing to come forward with ideas or proposals of what they would be for, rather than just sitting on the sidelines carping about what they are against,” Dayton said.
Dayton is racing to complete his plan for a new Vikings stadium by Nov. 7. with hopes of calling a special legislative session before Thanksgiving.
A huge snag for the cash-strapped state is finding its $300 million share of the project. In searching for a funding stream, Dayton hasn’t ruled out any potentially dicey proposals, including at least two gambling expansion plans.
Tapping the Legacy fund could create a political firestorm among Democrats who backed the voter-approved constitutional amendment.
State Sen. Dick Cohen said he would immediately file lawsuit to stop legislators from redirecting the money.
“I'd have a strong argument to go to court and stop it,” said Cohen, a St. Paul attorney who was the driving force behind including arts funding in the Legacy amendment.
“There is no basis in the constitution for that, there was no basis in the campaign for that, there was no basis in any floor debate,” said Cohen, who sits on President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
Dayton said he’s aware of the possible legal snags would “have to look at that to know.”
“I appreciate the spirit of coming forward with an idea,” Dayton said.
The governor said he doesn’t want to let the push for a new stadium to get drowned out by critics.
“If this is driven by those who oppose something or everything, then obviously the conclusion will be not to proceed with a new stadium," he said. "Then those who have been opposed to everything take responsibility for the consequences when the team moves.”