Dayton would sign stadium bill before budget balanced
St. Paul, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday he wouldn't let unfinished state budget business get in the way of a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, offering to sign a stadium bill even if lawmakers blow a deadline to finish the budget.
The Democratic governor said during a Capitol news briefing that the stadium project is "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 has consistently 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 have not yet 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 next 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. All Rights Reserved.)