Minnesota Vikings stadium vote set for Monday
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings stadium plan is finally getting a floor vote in the state Legislature on Monday.
Republican legislative leaders said Thursday they would drop a last-minute proposal to finance a new $975 million Minnesota Vikings stadium by issuing bonds directly tied to the state's general treasury. The House scheduled the Monday vote on an existing proposal reliant on a gambling expansion.
They said it's up to supporters, particularly Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, to round up the needed votes. It is destined to be close.
"The fate of the stadium is now in the governor's hands," said House Speaker Kurt Zellers.
Zellers says he opposes the bill and isn't sure it will pass.
The Vikings have been in pursuit of a taxpayer-subsidized stadium for more than a decade and no longer have a lease binding them to the Metrodome. Other cities coveting an NFL franchise have paid close attention to the stadium saga.
The team and its public partners want to build on the site of the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis, with a 2016 opening the goal. They would have to round up $427 million in private financing and the rest would come from sales taxes derived in the city of Minneapolis and gambling taxes collected by the state. Bars and restaurants that offer small-scale gambling would be allowed to install new electronic devices that are expected to pump up profits.
House Majority Leader Matt Dean cited "impediments" on Thursday for giving up on their general obligation bonding proposal that came to light only Tuesday.
"We took our best shot," Dean said. "It's only fair to everyone to vote on the existing plan because that's the alternative."
Senate Majority Leader David Senjem said he's not sure if the Vikings bill has sufficient Senate support.
"I'm not going to presuppose anything at this point," Senjem, a Republican, said.
There's a chance the Vikings plan could require two votes in the House and Senate. If the chambers pass differing plans, they would have to work out a common bill in a conference committee and vote again to send it to Dayton.
Passage requires 68 House votes and 34 in the Senate.