Plan for subsidized Vikings stadium being rebuilt

  • Article by: MIKE KASZUBA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 16, 2010 - 12:25 AM

Julie Rosen, a Republican senator from Fairmont, said she hoped to get help for the bill from Gov.-elect Mark Dayton and from a local government partner.

Three days after the collapse of the Metrodome roof, Sen. Julie Rosen, a Republican from Fairmont, said she planned to introduce a bill in late January to build a new Vikings stadium with public subsidies.

Rosen, a vocal advocate for a new stadium, said on Wednesday that the proposal "might be very similar" to a plan that stalled in the Legislature last spring. That proposal, which was criticized at the time for being hastily assembled, relied in part on diverting sales tax money now being used for the Minneapolis Convention Center once the convention center's debt was repaid.

She said poor timing likely sealed the proposal's fate last spring.

"The timing, I think, was late - very, very late" in the legislative session, she said.

With Republicans assuming majorities in the House and Senate in January, Rosen said she had already talked to Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, the incoming Senate Taxes Committee chair. "She's committed to hearing it," said Rosen, who said the proposal would likely face an "end-of-session vote" after the Legislature addressed the state's $6.2 billion budget deficit.

Rosen said she would be the Senate's chief sponsor and might be joined by Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, the incoming Senate minority leader, but said she had not yet seen a draft of the proposal and was unsure what financial components it might contain.

She hinted that there might be some movement on finding a local government partner to help finance the stadium. "It's a little premature to say anything on that yet," she said. "We all know it's not going to be a 'clean' partner like we had" with Target Field, the new Twins stadium.

The Twins teamed with Hennepin County, which levied a countywide sales tax to help fund the project.

Rosen also said she hoped to get help from Gov.-elect Mark Dayton, a DFLer who has indicated he might be receptive to helping build a new stadium providing it was an economically sound proposal for taxpayers.

"I think we have a partner there," she said of Dayton. "I think that it's extremely important to have the governor's office willing to participate and jump in."

Rosen, however, stopped short of saying Dayton would be a better supporter of a new stadium than outgoing Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican. "Let's just move forward," she said.

Sunday's collapse of the Metrodome roof probably has not had a big impact on legislators, Rosen said. But she added that the event was certainly driving home the point among the public that the Vikings need to replace their home of the past 28 seasons. "The discussion perhaps has been ramped up," she said.

Mike Kaszuba • 651-222-1673

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