Vikings’ stadium vote slated for Monday

Zellers: Fate of measure in Dayton’s hands

By T.W. BUDIG – ECM Capitol Reporter

ST. PAUL – The long anticipated vote on the Vikings stadium is slated for Monday.

Republican leaders Thursday dropped their recent proposal to use general obligation bonding to help to pay for the stadium, leaving the two stadium bills currently on the House and Senate floors awaiting the vote on Monday.

"The fate of the stadium is in the hands of the governor (Mark Dayton)," said House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, at a Capitol press conference this morning.

Zellers indicated that while he personally cannot vote for the stadium bill in its current form – the House and Senate bills contain electronic pull-tabs and bingo provisions – Zellers insisted that he would not try to stop any Republican or Democrat from voting for the stadium bill.

He would do "absolutely nothing" to stop them, said Zellers.

Republicans again described the stadium as Dayton’s overriding priority of the legislative session – something the governor denies, citing jobs.

As Dayton was critical of Republican leaders yesterday, Zellers repeatedly styled the governor as disrespectful and dismissive of Republican priorities.

Other actions are afoot.

The Republican Senate is expected to take up a $496 million bonding bill today on the floor.

The bill, which has been agreed to by House Republicans, contains no civic center projects, but slates $77 million for State Capitol restoration – a much lower amount than what House Republicans had originally proposed.

Republicans laud their bonding bill as dedicated to concrete, steel, infrastructure.

House Republican leaders indicated that the House would take up the bonding bill on Monday. But there’s a chance the House could take up the bill earlier.

House Majority Leader Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, who was a driving force in exploring the stadium general obligation-bonding proposal, indicated a number of "mechanical" issues arose with the idea of bonding $250 million for the stadium.

For one thing, the duration of general obligation bonding do not match the proposed lease the Minnesota Vikings would sign as part of the agreement to build the proposed $975 million stadium at the site of the Metrodome.

Both Zellers and Senate Majority Leader David Senjem, R-Rochester, indicated they did not know whether Sen. Julie Rosen’s and Rep. Morrie Lanning’s stadium bills could pass their respective floors.

"I don’t know right now," said Senjem.

Zellers, in comments on job creation, insisted the Republican tax bill, which contains Mall of America tax increment financing provisions, is a much more powerful job-creation tool than the stadium bill.

Sign the bill, Senjem urged Dayton.

But Dayton Administration officials have indicated the governor would veto the bill.

Zellers indicated that the fate of the tax bill and bonding bill were unrelated to the stadium legislation.