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Bipartisan supporters again make case for new Vikings stadium

They believe their plan has enough support to pass when it comes up Monday for a House floor vote.

Bipartisan supporters of a new Vikings stadium made their case again Friday afternoon and assured the public that their plan has enough support to pass when it comes up Monday for a floor vote in the House.

They made their predictions, though, before Republicans — angry over Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto of their top priority, a business tax relief bill — said they were less inclined to help the governor with his stadium efforts.  

Earlier in the week, a last-minute alternate proposal nearly derailed a Vikings plan that has been in the works for months.

The alternative would have used state bonds, instead of expanded charitable gambling, to fund the state’s share of the stadium cost. That plan, tough, was quickly abandoned over technical problems with bonding rules.

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“We have to stay positive and not think about what’ll happen if it doesn’t pass,” said GOP Sen. Julie Rosen, the bill’s chief author in the Senate. “It’ll pass. You don’t work on a bill this hard to have it fail, so we’re going to finish this bill.”

A group of supporters, which included representatives from the Vikings, the governor’s office and lawmakers, held a press conference — largely for show — on Friday to refocus public attention on their roughly $1 billion proposal.

That plan uses enhanced charitable gambling — electronic pull-tabs and linked bingo — to finance the state’s $398 million. The Vikings would contribute about $427 million, and Minneapolis would put in $150 million.

Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans noted that the state would actually make money with the deal, and attempted to put to rest fears that the extra gaming revenue wouldn’t be able to cover the state’s portion of the stadium.

Rosen said she met with Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk and Assistant Minority Leader Terri Bonoff and was happy with the bipartisan support the bill has accrued.

All of the stakeholders at the press conference said thatmuch of the initial public opposition to the plan has washed away as lawmakers vetted it through the committee process. Rosen said they’ll continue working on the proposal over the weekend.