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Vikings stadium: The early vote counting begins

Posted by: Mike Kaszuba under Funding, Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators, State budgets Updated: February 24, 2012 - 5:23 PM


Although it may be too early to start counting votes at the Legislature for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk is ready.

Bakk said he would tentatively pledge 12 Senate DFL votes -- he does not know exactly who yet – toward passing a Vikings stadium deal at the Legislature. The rest of the needed votes, said Bakk, would have to come from the Senate Republican majority.

There are 67 state senators, meaning a stadium bill would need at least 34 votes to pass. Republicans hold a 37 to 30 majority in the Senate.

Why 12? Bakk said that is the number of Republican senators who voted for a new Minnesota Twins stadium in 2006, when DFLers controlled the Senate. He is just returning the favor, he said.

But Bakk said there are a few caveats: If the state’s financial contribution to a new Vikings stadium comes from allowing electronic pull tabs – a choice Gov. Mark Dayton, a DFLer, seems to prefer – he could “probably” provide 12 votes. If the state’s financial contribution comes from racino – allowing slot machines at the state’s horse racing tracks – there probably will not be 12 votes.

“I have to agree on the revenue [source],” said Bakk, DFL-Cook. “I’m not going to vote just for anything for 12 votes.”

If Minneapolis insists that a deal to build a Vikings stadium in the city must also include financial relief for the city’s Target Center, Bakk said that too “makes it very difficult” for him to get 12 Senate DFL votes.

Bakk said he would in addition need to know how committed Minneapolis’ City Council is to helping pay for a Vikings stadium before pledging Senate DFL votes. “I need to know that they’re going to pass what we do,” he said.

So far, a majority of the City Council does not appear to support a city public subsidy package for a Vikings stadium, absent a public referendum. In addition, the city, the state and the Vikings have not yet announced a completed agreement to build the project.

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