Hoping to head off the use of gambling money to build a Minnesota Vikings stadium, a politically diverse group of legislators Thursday said they would oppose “the marriage of two bad ideas” – a publicly-subsidized stadium and an expansion of gambling of Minnesota.
The state Capitol press conference kicked off another day of stadium-related talk regarding the Vikings, who want $650 million in public subsidies to build a $1.1 billion stadium in Ramsey County’s Arden Hills.
“In recent years, almost every budget challenge we’ve faced has been met with a call for more casinos,” said Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie. “The proponents of gambling describe this as harmless fun, entertainment and, in effect, free money.
“None of that is true. In fact, casino gambling is highly destructive to individuals, [and] to families,” he said.
Hann was joined by other conservative Republicans, such as Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, but also DFLers such as Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, and Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington. Several DFL legislators from Minneapolis, meanwhile, also said they were opposed to a plan to have a Block E casino in downtown Minneapolis.
While the legislators insisted they had gathered to oppose gambling, most acknowledged they were also opposed to using public money to pay for a new Vikings stadium. Gov. Mark Dayton said he wants a special legislative session by Thanksgiving to resolve the stadium issue.
“A lot of us are frustrated with the approach that the professional teams have taken,” said Hann. “They’re [playing] one state against the other to try to blackmail the public into funding a venue for them to play in.”
Sen. David Thompson, R-Lakeville, disputed the notion that legislators had to act quickly to keep the Vikings from possibly leaving Minnesota. “I wouldn’t be making the Vikings leave. It would be the ownership of the Vikings making the decision to leave [and] the NFL allowing them because they didn’t get from us what they want.
“If they make that decision, I personally am going to live with that,” said Thompson.
More from Star Tribune
More from Hot Dish Politics
Voting began Friday in Minnesota, one of the earliest states in the nation.
Sen. Franken joins Sen. Rand Paul in pushing to halt Saudi arms sales
Gov. Mark Dayton, speaking to a mostly Republican audience at the annual Minnesota Business Partnership dinner, repeated his familiar attack on the House GOP, blaming them for a legislative impasse on transportation.
Dayton's remarks came to a mostly Republican audience at the annual Minnesota Business Partnership dinner.
In collaboration with the Minnesota Twins, Secretary of State Steve Simon urges Minnesotans to vote.
Recommended For You
Down 10-0 in the first quarter, the Vikings woke up in the second half thanks to a Marcus Sherels punt return for a score and finished with eight sacks on Cam Newton.
The Twins lost 4-3 to Seattle on Sunday to fall to 56-100 on the season, just the second time in club history they have lost 100 games
Voters must know more about candidate's possible financial ties.
Three days after left tackle Matt Kalil had hip surgery that likely ended his season — and maybe his Vikings career — left guard Alex Boone was injured in the second quarter of Sunday's victory.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is arguing that he'll do more to help women from the White House than Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. At the same time, he's taunting her over the infidelities of her husband.