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ST. PAUL, Minn. - The stadium dance continued at the Capitol on Wednesday as a pair of teams with fairly different ideas spent time behind closed doors with Governor Dayton and DFL Minority leadership. The two teams, both made up of Republicans, pitched their funding mechanisms for what many call a "People's Stadium," which would also be home to the Minnesota Vikings.
First up were Fairmont Senator Julie Rosen and Moorhead Representative Morrie Lanning, who have spent months putting together a Viking-backed plan that calls for charitable gaming to fund the state's portion of a stadium built in downtown Minneapolis.
Rosen and Lanning, joined by Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, didn't stop to chat with reporters on their way out. The Governor and the Minority Leaders in both the House and Senate favor what they call "vetted" bills that have passed with bipartisan support through several committees.
House Majority Leader Matt Dean of Dellwood strode into the Governor's Office with Senjem and House Speaker Kurt Zellers in the early afternoon and emerged 90 minutes later. The trio pitched a last minute plan that puts the Vikings Stadium in the bonding bill.
"If it's not productive and it's not helpful then we can move on to other solutions to try to get done and get out, but for right now, what we have heard, general obligation bonds are appropriate and useable," Dean remarked.
He also said the plan would likely require a roof on the stadium. Leaders were working with fiscal analysts on particulars later in the afternoon.
Dayton was skeptical. "There's a long way to go with this and not much time," he said. Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk of Cook agreed. "It is going to require a great deal of vetting; whether the use of general obligation bonds are even appropriate here. There is a question. General obligation bonds require a public purpose," Bakk said.
On Thursday, the full House and Senate will meet and likely talk about a variety of potential funding mechanisms. It will mark the 115th working day of the legislature, according to the Secretary of the Senate's office. Lawmakers are required to pass bills by day 119.
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