When the state’s two top legislative leaders said they now wanted a voter referendum on a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, Rep. Morrie Lanning did not sound like he was happy with them.

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch joined House Speaker Kurt Zellers in calling for a referendum regardless of where the stadium is built. Lanning – like Koch and Zellers, a Republican – said he was not pleased with their comments.

For Lanning, the chief House author of the Vikings stadium proposal, it was a rare public rebuke of the two top Republican leaders. “Frankly, I’m disappointed in the House and Senate leadership,” said Lanning, a Republican from Moorhead who typically measures his words when speaking to the media. “I don’t think this is helpful, right now.”

Buried deep in Lanning’s proposal is language that would exempt Ramsey County – or any local government – from having to hold a referendum before increasing the local sales tax. Ramsey County is proposing to increase county sales taxes to raise money for a new Vikings stadium in suburban Arden Hills.

With public opinion polls regularly showing a large majority of Minnesotans opposed to public subsidies for a stadium, many feel a referendum would likely doom the project.

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