By T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter
The long anticipated vote on the Vikings stadium is slated for Monday (May 7).
Republican leaders today (May 3) 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 (Democrat 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 later today.
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.
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.
Saint Paul – Governor Mark Dayton released the following statement today:
“I am very pleased that the Republican legislative leaders have agreed to my request for up-or-down votes in both bodies on a new “People’s Stadium” that would provide jobs for several thousand Minnesotans and keep the Vikings here. Now everyone will be able to hold legislators accountable for that momentous decision.
“I will continue to do all I can to convince them that this is a good deal for Minnesota, the best deal available, and much better than the alternative: losing thousands of jobs, losing the Vikings, and losing the “Can Do” spirit, which is Minnesota.
“I ask all Minnesotans, who care about the stadium, to contact their legislators and urge them to vote “Yes” next Monday.”