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Lawmakers push again for racino to fund Vikings stadium

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: November 4, 2011 - 5:08 PM

A Republican senator Friday hand-delivered a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton's office saying: "Racino is the best way of passing a [Minnesota] Vikings stadium package."

The letter was signed by 24 lawmakers, including members of both parties, and Sen. Al DeKruif, R-Madison Lake, said he believes the sentiment has 31 total supporters in the Legislature. Those numbers are well short of the 68 House votes and the 34 Senate votes needed to make a deal pass.

Update: DeKruif said there are many more than the 31 lawmakers that would support the racino idea but did not have a head count.

Dayton, who is in Biwabik Friday for pre-Governor's Deer Hunting Opening events, has said in the past that he is open to looking at most any means of funding the state's share for a new Vikings stadium.

DeKruif said allowing racinos, slot-machines at the state's horse racing tracks, could bring in about $135 million a year to the state's coffers, which could pay back the state's school shift and pay back whatever bonds the state would let to build a stadium.

"We want to offer racino up as an opportunity for the governor, who has been looking at opportunities," DeKruif said. "We're not trying to decide where a stadium would go, we're just trying to help the governor by providing a possible solution."

DeKruif said he believes there were enough or close to enough votes to pass a racino bill earlier this year. At that time, racino was not necessarily linked to a stadium project.

He said he did not know how much racinos would bring in for private industries.

Here's the letter he delivered:

Letter to Gov Dayton - Racino 11-4-11_1

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