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Dayton: Legislators should be leaders on Vikings stadium

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: November 8, 2011 - 12:59 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton Tuesday put pressure on lawmakers to step forward to help build a new Minnesota Vikings stadium.

"It's time for leaders of the Legislature to show some leadership," Dayton said. He stressed that if lawmakers are "concerned about providing jobs in the private sector," they should move on the stadium project, because clearing a new stadium site and building a new football home would create thousands of private-sector jobs.

"I would just urge everybody to put the focus back on what they can be for," Dayton said. "Some people, all they know is 'No' to this, 'No' to that, 'No' to everything." That's not constructive leadership. What are you willing to support?"

The governor had planned to share his recommendations for a stadium plan on Monday but delayed that after House Speaker Kurt Zellers made clear he opposed the idea of special session for a stadium. Dayton said Tuesday that the momentum has been lost.

"We're just back in the Twilight Zone," Dayton said. He accused some lawmakers of wanting to delay a decision until after the 2012 election. That, he said, would be a decision from lawmakers to save one job -- that of the lawmaker -- rather than help create many jobs by building the stadium.

Tuesday Dayton, who has said he is open to most methods of funding the state's portion of a stadium project, also made some of his preferences clear.

"I’m for maximizing the private team’s contribution," he said.

He said "at this point" his preferred source of state funding would come from expanding pull tabs in tabs but "I'm not going to oppose other ones, at this point." The idea of using constitutionally dedicated funds, so-called Legacy Funds, has been floated to help the state fund part of the stadium project, Dayton said Tuesday that using those funds was a "bad idea."

He also mentioned a "memorabilia tax on the Vikings souvenirs and things sold there" and "a ticket tax on users of the stadium."

He said he finds both Minneapolis and Arden Hills would be good sites for a future Vikings home and would not pick among them.

The governor also said he does not favor using the clause in the Vikings lease that could force the team to play in their current Metrodome home.

"We shouldn't be engaged in that kind of hostile posturing with the Vikings...they're our team. And they want to stay here," Dayton said. "So are we going to sue the Vikings? Come on. What are we doing here. This is about moving Minnesota forward."

Jim Ragsdale contributed to this report

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