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“"We've scored a touchdown, and it's a touchdown for the state of Minnesota and it's a touchdown for the Vikings fans," said Sen. David Tomassoni, a Democrat from Chisholm, prior to casting his vote in favor the bill. Even before the final Senate vote, the stadium bill had taken on an air of inevitability after the House approved it and adjourned for the year hours earlier. Opponents who sharply criticized the state's share backed by expanded gambling couldn't muster the votes to block the bill. "Everybody wants a yes vote, everybody wants a stadium, but at what cost?" said Sen. John Howe, a Republican from Red Wing who voted against the final deal after supporting a Senate bill that included fees on luxury suites, parking and Vikings clothing. Supporters countered by reminding their colleagues of the pain of losing the Lakers and the North Stars to other states in past decades, and said they were inundated with messages from Vikings fans urging them to keep the team here. "It's time," said Sen. Geoff Michel, a Republican from Edina. "It's time for us to adopt a framework that allows us to keep a Minnesota franchise. It's time to keep the Minnesota Vikings here so that our children and our grandchildren, yes, can wear purple." Sen. Scott Newman, a Hutchinson Republican who voted no, said the state should be spending its money instead on things like health care, education and infrastructure. "I know it happens across the nation, but it saddens me to think that our citizens believe that this is a wise expenditure of tax money," Newman said. Bagley said the team's multimillionaire owners, New Jersey developers Zygi and Mark Wilf, supported the deal even though $50 million of the cost was shifted from the state to the team because time was running out. The Senate voted on the final day available for voting this year. Under the bill, the Vikings would pay about $13 million annually in operating fees, though a public authority gets the power to rent out the building on non-game days for concerts, conventions and special events. The Wilfs would get exclusive rights to recruit a professional soccer team to Minnesota. The bill gives the Vikings the option to upgrade to a retractable roof, but at their expense. Bagley said the Vikings haven't decided if they'll make that enhancement. The Vikings intend to take advantage of an NFL loan program, sell naming rights and possibly impose seat license fees to help cover the team's end of construction costs. The state's share was to come through expanded gambling, which some legislators opposed on principle. Others worried the state overestimated the money it would get by authorizing charitable organizations to offer electronic versions of pull tabs, a low-tech paper game offered in bars and restaurants around the state.
Let's build it!” -- Vikings VP Lester Bagley