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Sens. Cohen, Thompson: Don't count on Vikings stadium in special session

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  • May 26, 2011 - 12:15 PM
Though many expect a new Minnesota Vikings stadium to be considered at a special legislative session, there are those who think the increasing war of words between Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republicans who control the House and Senate may prevent that.
One is Sen. Dick Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, who was first elected to the Legislature in 1976 and is one of the longest-serving lawmakers at the State Capitol.  Another may be Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, one of a group of influential freshman Republican legislators.
The Legislature adjourned Monday with Dayton and the Republicans still at odds over how to solve the state's $5.1 billion deficit, leaving open the possibility of a special session and a government shutdown.
“The acrimony by the time a special session comes around is going to be significant,” said Cohen. “It’ll be a stretch to get the votes for. . .[the state’s overall] budget."
“I’d be surprised if the Legislature will have much of an appetite for anything else,” he added.
“We’ve never seen a budget debate like we’ll have – that we’ve been having, that we will have,” he said. “This is the most intractable situation I’ve seen, and I think by the time we finish, whether it’s the end of June or the end of October, it’s going to be real, real difficult.”
In a separate interview Thursday, Thompson said support for a new Vikings stadium that includes public subsidies was "tepid at best" in the Senate Republican caucus.
"I'd never say never," said Thompson.  "[But] I'm having a hard time fashioning in my mind a Vikings proposal that would satisfy all the various concerns within the caucus to make it happen."
Cohen said he expects the stadium debate to be pushed to 2012.  But even then, he said, there may be other problems for stadium supporters. “It’s an election year,” said Cohen, suggesting that lawmakers may not want to take votes on such an emotionally-charged issue while trying to get re-elected.

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