By Mike Kaszuba

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, one of the biggest lobbying forces at the State Capitol, thinks a new Minnesota Vikings stadium needs to move forward at the Legislature next year – and is working behind the scenes to make it happen.
“My guess is it has to happen this session,” Tom Hesse, the chamber’s vice president for government affairs, said Thursday. Hesse said David Olson, the chamber’s president, has been “working on some things with the Vikings.”
While Hesse did not provide details, his comments were more evidence that Vikings stadium supporters, despite the state’s looming $6.2 billion budget and widespread public opposition, will push hard for a public subsidy package during the 2011 legislation session beginning Jan. 4.
The Vikings’ lease at the Metrodome, where the team has played since 1982, expires after the 2011 season and the team has announced it will not renew the lease.  Compounding the team’s stadium problems, the Metrodome’s inflatable roof collapsed early Sunday during a heavy snowstorm, forcing the team to play its final games of the season elsewhere.
Hesse made his comments while previewing the chamber’s legislative priorities for next year, and insisted that the stadium was not ranked as high among the organization's legislative priorities as budget and K-12 education reform and lifting the state ban on new nuclear power.  "[But] we want to see the team stay here and have the stadium issue resolved," he said.
His comments came a day after Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, a vocal Vikings supporter, said she planned to introduce a proposal for a new stadium by the end of January.

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