Some members of the new Republican majority at the state Legislature appear willing to consider a new Vikings stadium even as they deal with a dramatic state budget deficit, Mike Kaszuba of the Star Tribune reports.
While it’s not one of the top priorities — those would be balancing the budget and cutting government — some leaders said the stadium is likely to be addressed, with the team’s lease at the Metrodome ending after the 2011 season.
Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, the new chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, told the paper: “I think, one way or another, it’s going to be addressed this session. The question is whether or not it’s resolved. It’s not going to go away.”
She said using Minneapolis local taxes that now pay for the convention center would be one way to pay for it, but city officials don’t like that. A racino — putting slots at Canterbury Park horse track — might be another.
Sen. Julianne Ortman, the new chair of the Senate Taxes Committee, said: “Minnesotans want us to address that issue. We will — in time. Minnesotans have strong opinions on the Viking stadium. [But] we haven’t gotten that far into the agenda yet for the Senate majority.”
Kaszuba points out that “a Star Tribune poll last month, reflecting previous polling on the issue, showed that 75 percent opposed using public money for a new Vikings stadium.”
Not all those in the new majority think it has to be done right away. New House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said it might not happen in 2011.
“I’m a rabid football fan,” Zellers said. “Is the Metrodome the best place to watch football? Not really. But will it suffice until we can find something? Yeah.”