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Mayor says Minneapolis better place for Vikings than suburbs

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak made a pitch to Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday to keep the Minnesota Vikings in downtown Minneapolis, saying a new football stadium could be built more cheaply there than the team's preferred site in the suburbs.

Rybak emerged from a meeting with Dayton saying that he'd prefer a statewide sales tax increase, but the most realistic way to pay for the city's share of a new stadium is with a citywide sales tax increase. The hike Rybak envisions would also pay for renovations to the city-owned Target Center, where the NBA Timberwolves play, and for property tax relief.

The idea has some similarities with a proposal Rybak floated last May that would have raised about $200 million for a stadium and about $100 million for the arena. The mayor said he and his staff will spend the coming week putting together a more specific plan for the governor, who hopes to call a special session for Nov. 21.

The push has taken on added urgency because the Vikings' lease on the Metrodome runs out after this season, and Los Angeles and other cities would love to snare an NFL team.

Dayton told reporters he is still neutral on a site, but that those who favor Minneapolis will have to come up with a more attractive proposal than team owner Zygi Wilf's plan for a $1.1 billion stadium in Arden Hills, north of St. Paul. The Vikings have made clear that's their preferred site.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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