Newspaper article

After Meeting, Dayton Appears More Open to GOP's New Stadium Plan

Newspaper article

After Meeting, Dayton Appears More Open to GOP's New Stadium Plan

Article excerpt

What a difference in tone a few hours made at the Capitol Wednesday where Vikings stadium politics continued to play out.

In the morning, Gov Mark Dayton strenuously criticized Tuesday's surprise Republican stadium proposal, calling it "harebrained," "cynical" and "absurd."

But after an hour-plus meeting with GOP and DFL legislative leaders, he was ready to temper those remarks -- and his initially strong opposition to the plan, which called for an open-air stadium that would be "roof ready."

"I'm not going to let by personal feelings about how other people conduct themselves get in the way of trying to get a resolution," he told reporters. "My goal is to reach a solution."

Even so, Republican legislative leaders emerged from the talks with few details or answers about their proposal -- other than agreement by all sides that the plan likely would require a roof. (Later, the House released this overview.)

The "secret deal" that leaked out Tuesday would finance infrastructure-only improvements for the stadium. The plan calls for a state contribution of about $250 million, about a quarter of the near $1 billion project, House Majority Leader Matt Dean, R- Dellwood, told reporters.

It would use general obligation bonds -- which Dayton objects to - - to pay the state share of the stadium and would get tacked onto the existing bonding bill.

Dean, who did most of the talking on Wednesday, said that many of the details of the Republicans' new proposal are in limbo.

He said nonpartisan staffers are still working on getting specific data about the state's potential share of a stadium.

Dean did confirm, though, that the stadium would likely require a roof to be eligible for bonding -- which, Dayton said, "puts us back in the realm of reality."

That would also up the state's portion of the cost.

Dean criticized reporters for spreading misinformation Tuesday about the half-formed plan, which quickly received outright rejection from Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. He said reports of the plan got out in between meetings with House and Senate Republicans.

"Unfortunately somewhere in between, word of that discussion got out," he said. …

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