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GOP stadium plan collapses; vote on original proposal Monday

ST. PAUL -- A Republican Vikings stadium plan has collapsed and legislative leaders decided to take votes on the original plan Monday, perhaps opening the door to end the 2012 Minnesota Legislature.

However, leaders did not predict the existing plan would pass or say if they would try again if it fails.

In a mid-day announcement, GOP leaders also said they would consider a $496 million public works finance bill separate from the stadium.

The Senate today was to debate a Republican-written tax bill the Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton opposes and then the public works bill, to be funded by the state selling bonds. The bonding bill focuses on fixing roads, sewer systems, colleges and other state facilities, but details were not immediately available.

It is possible, but not likely, that the House could vote on the bonding bill late today if the Senate passes it early enough.

The plan is to debate the stadium bill in both chambers Monday, authorizing a $975 million Minneapolis stadium with a $398 million state contribution funded by expanded charitable gambling.

The plan funds the state's stadium construction contribution by allowing for electronic pulltab and bingo devices.

"We can't pass a bonding bill on our own, House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said. "We're going to need some Democrat votes."

Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said the bonding bill includes funds for roads, bridges and similar projects but not for things like local civic centers.

The House passed the tax bill earlier this week. It proposes dipping into state budget reserves to offset tax cuts, mainly to businesses.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.