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Minnesota Vikings stadium bill delayed as session prolonged

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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The Minnesota Legislature will stick around into May to try to reach agreement on tax breaks, state-financed construction projects and a Minnesota Vikings stadium plan.

But one idea being circulated around the Capitol has the stadium bill being included in a bonding bill, moving it higher on the Legislature's agenda, sources told Fox 9 TV on Tuesday.

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Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is pressing hard for deals, none more so than a proposed $975 million Vikings football stadium that would be built in Minneapolis.

Republicans who run the House and Senate said legislation giving tax breaks to businesses, homeowners and others was more critical to them. The sides met for a couple of hours Monday afternoon and agreed to reconvene later on. Floor sessions in both chambers that had been expected to go well past midnight adjourned in late afternoon, with plans to return Tuesday.

"I've encouraged them to stay as long as they need to," Dayton said of pushing past Monday.

Sen. Julie Rosen, a leading lawmaker on the Vikings stadium bill, said the bill had to wait as talks continued on the tax proposal and a separate bill to finance other construction projects around the state.

"You can't move one too far ahead of the other," Rosen said. "I would have preferred the stadium not be part of the deal but that's how leadership has taken that direction. I would have liked just a clean up-and-down vote, take it to the floor and leave all the politics out of it."

An altered proposal by Republicans for a roofless stadium surfaced Tuesday and drew a rushed press conference from Dayton, Democratic lawmakers and the mayor of Minneapolis. Each acknowledged a stadium without a roof would be cheaper but said it would defeat the intent of building a venue that could be used for more than just football.

Dayton told The Star Tribune that the Republicans' decision to float the surprise proposal was "cynical, underhanded politics."

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the newspaper that the league knows about the proposal but will not comment on it.

"We don't have a position on the roof. It's a club matter," McCarthy said.

Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley told the newspaper that the team wasn't told about the idea until very recently -- "This is not our proposal," he said -- and that the Vikings are still behind the original proposal now in front of legislators.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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