Dayton said the state leaders didn’t ask league officials to enhance the private contribution in the financing package. Dayton said the NFL delegation ran through a league loan program that could give the team access to up to $200 million, but it has long been believed franchise owners had figured that money into their calculations.
“This is a two-minute drill and things will have to be moving a bit more quickly,” said Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers, who declined to guarantee an up-or-down vote this year.
The plan awaited action later Friday in a Senate committee where the proposal stalled more than a month ago. The lead Senate Democrat, Tom Bakk, said his caucus would provide the needed votes to dislodge it. Bakk said the stadium puzzle gets even tougher next year, when another projected budget deficit is the main focus and with anticipated legislator turnover after November’s election.
Democratic Rep. Mary Murphy, a 35-year Capitol veteran, said she is undecided on the Vikings stadium and doesn’t anticipate taking a side until she sees the final bill. But Murphy said she senses sentiment is shifting in favor of the Vikings and the visibility campaign by the NFL could play a part as the session wanes. More calls and emails are coming in, too.
“We’re going into the final weeks. People are going to be more vocal as we’re out and about” back home, Murphy said. “I just have a feeling it’s shifting for the stadium. People’s attitudes are.”
By James A. Lyons
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