Governor urges legislature to push through Vikings stadium bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday he wouldn't let unfinished state budget business get in the way of a new Vikings stadium, offering to sign a stadium bill even if lawmakers blew a deadline to finish the budget.

The Democratic governor said during a Capitol news briefing that the stadium project was "a separate standalone matter for the Legislature to consider" and would bring several thousand jobs.

"Get it completed, I'll sign it," Dayton said. "Yes. Get it done. Get people to work."

Dayton consistently has said he would like to see action this year on a new home for the NFL team.

Stadium proposals were introduced in both the House and Senate last month but haven't received legislative hearings. The proposal would raise $300 million from sports memorabilia and luxury seat taxes, naming rights proceeds and a football-themed state lottery game. A group would be established to pick a site by February.

Minnesota's budget is running $5 billion short over the coming two years, and budget talks have stalled as Dayton and majority Republicans argue over the process. Dayton wants to raise high-end income taxes, while GOP leaders aim to erase the deficit through spending cuts.

They're running up against a constitutionally mandated May 23 deadline for the regular session to adjourn. If there's no budget deal by then, Dayton said he would be forced to call a special session.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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