Egads. I realize that stadium fights are always painful and ugly, but if you're a supporter of the Minnesota Vikings' hopes for a new facility, you had to be cringing Friday afternoon. During their weekly meeting with reporters, Minnesota legislative leaders from -- from both sides of the isle -- suggested than an imminent Vikings stadium bill won't get much attention anytime soon.
Bob von Sternberg of the Star Tribune has the details. Here are some excerpts from both sides of the aisle
House speaker Kurt Zellers (R): "I hate to sound like a broken record, but until they have a site, until they have a plan, until they have a partner, it's awfully hard for us and the Vikings to get to that point."
(The proposed bill will include a mechanism for unidentified sites to offer bids.)
House minority leader Paul Thissen (DFL): "[T]he budget comes first, and if we're not willing to raise taxes for our schools and police and firefighters, it's very hard to see raising taxes to build a Vikings stadium."
(Minnesota state legislators are working to close a $5 billion budget deficit.)
Meanwhile, Senate minority leader Tom Bakk (DFL), who was a sponsor of the Vikings' failed 2009 stadium bill, suggested political motives by the two Republicans who have authored the newest version: "If they were serious about a stadium bill, they would have introduced it back in January or February. To wait until the middle of all the budget cut bills is just a political gimmick."
Again, posturing and rhetoric are a part of standard operating procedure in these cases. But a forceful and bi-partisan pushback even before the bill is formally introduced suggests, at the very least, that the Vikings are embarking on the most difficult of political roads.