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Despite a rush to get 'er done, Dayton says stadium's chances still 50-50

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators Updated: April 24, 2012 - 12:09 PM

As lawmakers rush to move a measure for a state-subsidized Minnesota Vikings stadium through committees, Gov. Mark Dayton said he is "cautiously optimistic" that they'll get it done.

On Tuesday morning, he gave the chances of final passing the same likelihood he has before: 50-50.

Still, that's better than some predictions. Last Monday, a House committee turned back the measure to help the football team build a $1 billion stadium bring the effort close to its knees. Since then, a different House panel and a Senate panel gave the measure the okay and two Senate panels were set to follow suit on Tuesday.

But the governor says the chances of final success are still iffy.

"I'd say it's 50-50, yes," said Dayton who has actively pushed the stadium bill. "I'm cautiously optimistic but now the decision will be in the hands of 200 legislators and that's as it should be."

He said he plans to personally lobby any lawmaker who could help in the effort.

"I met with legislators yesterday, I talked to several on the phone, I talked to several last night. I'm meeting with others today and I'm available to do whatever. I've said I'll call, I'll invite people to my office I'll go to their office, I'll do whatever it takes to persuade people that this is crucial," the governor said.

He said that a stadium measure is separate from any end of session tax or bonding negotiations.

"It's got to rise or fall on its own merits," the governor said. "I'm not going to compromise something that is important for thousands of Minnesotans for something that should be done anyway."

As to the bonding bill, Dayton said the House and Senate are playing things very close to the vest. Neither the House nor Senate have passed a bonding bill although both could do so at any time and then serious negotiations over borrowing for state projects could begin.

"I've told them if they want to tax breaks for businesses, that are their priority, my priority is a bonding bill that will put people to work throughout the state so that still remains to be decided," the governor said.

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