Stadium plan clears House on 73-58 vote; Vikings would pay more

The approval came after a day of high drama and a weekend of intense lobbying. But the amended plan changes the funding amounts, seeking more from the Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings won a decisive and long-awaited political victory late Monday when the House passed a public subsidy package for a new stadium, sending the project marching toward final passage at the State Capitol.

When the final vote was announced, two dozen Vikings fans -- most clad in team jerseys -- cheered loudly outside the House chamber and sang the team's fight song. Afterward, amid chants of "Build A Stadium, Save Our Team!" Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak made his way through the crowd and was congratulated by smiling fans.

The final vote came after a day of high drama and a weekend of intense lobbying by Gov. Mark Dayton and the team, and produced a relatively easy 73-to-58 approval in the House. Though Republicans hold a majority in the House, DFLers did the heavy political lifting on the final vote, producing 40 of the 73 votes. The victory was also noteworthy because House Speaker Kurt Zellers -- the leading Republican in the House -- voted against the project.

The stadium project now goes before the Senate, possibly on Tuesday, and could be ready for Dayton to sign into law by the end of the week.

"The voices of the people of Minnesota were heard tonight," Dayton said after the House vote.

"There's not many other issues that bring this many people to the Capitol," said Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, one of the project's biggest supporters. "Professional sports provides an escape from reality, a much-needed distraction from stressful lives."

In one pivotal change however the House voted overwhelmingly to boost the Vikings' contribution to the nearly $1 billion stadium, upping the team's share from $427 million to $532 million. The change, which would lower the state's share to $293 million, may not survive further legislative negotiating this week and was opposed by the Vikings.

"That particular amendment is not workable," Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley said. "[But] I don't want to take away from the moment."

Bagley -- notably -- did not say the team would reject the overall proposal should the provision remain.

The eight-hour House debate did leave many pleading for legislators to set aside the stadium at a time of a stressed state budget. "Let's not build a monument to misplaced priorities," said Rep. Doug Wardlow, R-Eagan.

Though Vikings owner Zygi Wilf had never explicitly threatened to move the team -- and was already committed to play in the existing Metrodome for one more year -- Monday's vote was driven by a sense that the team would leave without a new, taxpayer-supported stadium. The surge to build the stadium, which had been hotly debated across Minnesota, seemed to gain its final momentum after the National Football League commissioner made a personal visit to the state Capitol last month.

"Lo and behold, Commissioner [Roger] Goodell came to town, and people got starry-eyed," said Rep. Mark Buesgens, R-Jordan.

For the Vikings, the victory came after years of public polls that showed widespread opposition to using taxpayer money for a new stadium and after the team watched as the Minnesota Twins won approval six years ago for its own publicly subsidized ballpark.

Monday's vote culminated a long journey for the team, which in recent years had supported -- and then rejected -- plans to build a new stadium in Anoka County and more recently in Ramsey County's Arden Hills. The Arden Hills plan in fact was still viable at the beginning of the year, but lost steam when Dayton said that only a new stadium in Minneapolis could possibly win legislative approval this year.

Stadium supporters began the weekend believing they did not have the necessary votes to pass the agreement, but a handful of legislators came out in the last day to announce they would vote for it. One who changed was Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, who had helped temporarily kill the project in a House committee last month but said that despite heavy reservations he was now supporting it.

Though Winkler said the lobbying by the Vikings had shown that the affluent were "very good at bending the rules" to get what they want, the project provided "jobs for construction workers right now."

In changing the proposal earlier during the daylong debate, the House voted 97 to 31 to increase the team's share by $105 million and lower the state's by the same amount.

Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, proposed the change, and said it would be accomplished by sharing proceeds from stadium naming rights, rather than letting the team have all of the money.

"It's only fair that the public have part of that contribution," Garofalo said.

Even with the change, Garofalo said, the proposal would still be one of the largest public contributions to an NFL stadium in the country. He said that no team offered a $443 million taxpayer contribution has ever turned it down and moved to another city.

Under the original proposal, the team's $427 contribution to a downtown Minneapolis stadium would be joined by $398 million from the state through allowing electronic bingo and pulltabs in Minnesota's bars and restaurants. The city would add $150 million to the project's construction.

But another proposal to fund the stadium's construction with user fees -- an idea that also seemed to be gaining momentum in recent days - fell to defeat Monday. The proposal to replace charitable gambling with taxes and fees on Vikings tickets, concessions and parking was soundly defeated by a 74-to-57 margin.

A bipartisan contingent of legislators Monday continued to fiercely oppose a gambling expansion, either for moral reasons or because it leads to more government spending.

Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, said the agreement ensures that the project "becomes the stadium that losers built."

Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, the chief House stadium author, shook hands with legislators when the final vote was announced. With the project now going before the Senate, where it may face other changes, Lanning cautioned his colleagues not to dramatically alter the project with the Legislature on the verge of adjournment.

"There's a limit to how much we can squeeze" out of the team for the stadium, Lanning said. "If we squeeze too much, we may end up not having a deal." If that happens, he said, "I believe that the Vikings will likely leave."

Staff writers Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Jim Ragsdale contributed to this report.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 14 FINAL
Kansas City 41
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Rangers 6
Toronto 0 FINAL
Detroit 3
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Nashville 0
Florida 4 FINAL
Dallas 5
Winnipeg 1 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arizona 4 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do against Atlanta?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close