Friday, May 4, 2012
Vikings stadium: Political games ramp up
By Kevin Seifert
Friday is the first of what is expected to be three intense days of voter recruitment/lobbying ahead of a scheduled Monday vote on the Minnesota Vikings' stadium bill. I'm sure there will be the usual attempts at dealmaking and backroom arrangements, but Gov. Mark Dayton has already rejected one significant capitulate-for-votes offer that legislative leaders floated publicly on Thursday.
Dayton, a Democrat, vetoed a tax bill Friday that Republicans considered their highest priority of the 2012 legislative session. A day earlier, House Speaker Kurt Zellers strongly implied to KFAN 100.3 that Dayton could earn votes in Monday's stadium showdown by signing the bill. Here's how Zellers worded that offer: "If he were to agree with some of the Democrat and Republican members that voted for that [tax] bill, I think that would go a long way toward restoring some good will between the people who want to support the stadium but also want to support small business owners."
Dayton told reporters Friday that he did not want a tax bill he opposed to become a negotiating tool for stadium votes. He has repeatedly said the stadium issue should stand on its own.
In the world of politics, it's impossible to know if Dayton lost any stadium votes with this veto, or whether he really would have earned a substantial amount by signing the bill. But if it wasn't clear before, it should be obvious now that the Vikings' future is caught up in a larger game of politics that makes the ultimate resolution of this issue impossible to predict.