Republican leaders unveiled an alternative financing plan for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, but DFLers and Gov. Mark Dayton said it puts the prospects for a stadium deal in jeopardy.
The new plan proposed by House and Senate Republicans would include stadium funding in this year’s bonding bill, thereby combining two of the session’s three major pieces of legislation. It would reduce the state’s contribution to a yet-unspecified amount and would call for an open-air, “roof-ready” facility.
House Majority Leader Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) said the new plan would remove any concerns about expanding gambling and rely instead on general obligation bonds. He said there is broad consensus among Republicans that this new plan represents “the path forward” for the stadium.
“We’re not looking to negotiate at this point,” he said.
Their announcement came shortly after the House passed an omnibus tax bill that Dayton has said would increase the state’s long-term deficit, and that House Minority Leader Paul Thissen (DFL-Mpls) said will likely be met with a veto.
At a press conference, Dayton said Republicans are turning their back on eight months’ worth of stadium negotiations in favor of a plan that was “formulated in secret” and that he said is likely intended to fail.
“It’s hard to take this seriously when we haven’t been told anything about it,” Dayton said.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) said the Republicans’ new plan reneges on agreements that were made early on in negotiations, including it shouldn’t rely on General Fund money and would have a roof so it could be a year-round, multi-use facility.
Lester Bagley, the team’s vice president of public affairs and stadium development, said he prefers the plan negotiated with state and local leaders.