By Mike Kaszuba
Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Tuesday that his upcoming budget proposal, due out within a few days, would not address funding a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.
The governor, in taking questions at a morning press conference, said his supplemental budget plan to deal with the state's $1.2 billion deficit would not focus on the controversial stadium issue. "That won't be in the budget," he said. "We don't have a proposal."
Pawlenty last week raised eyebrows by suggesting -- but, he emphasized, not proposing -- that a new state lottery game could be created to help fund the stadium. In recent weeks, team officials have suggested that a series of revenue streams, including a hospitality tax and the possible use of federal stimulus money, could help with the stadium.
For now however the project, which has an estimated $870 million pricetag, remains stalled as the Legislature focuses on the state's budget deficit. The Vikings have a lease to play through 2011 in the Metrodome, the team's home since 1982, but have said they will not renew it.
At his Wednesday press conference, Pawlenty lightly chastised legislators for not bringing forward ideas for a new stadium. "They can actually have creative thoughts", and not just wait for the governor to propose a solution, Pawlenty said.