The Minnesota Vikings and state officials were scrambling to find funding for a proposed $1.1 billion stadium after state lawmakers rejected plans to increase a local sales tax without a public referendum.
Governor Mark Dayton and a Vikings spokesman said on Tuesday they saw it as progress to know what types of funding were no longer under consideration and expressed commitments to reaching a plan to fund a new stadium.
I want a stadium and I won't be satisfied with anything until we get that result, Dayton told reporters.
Dayton, who has called for a special legislative session later in November on the issue, said the state House and Senate lacked sufficient support to give the Vikings stadium plan an exemption from the public referendum requirement.
The Vikings and Ramsey County earlier in 2011 proposed building a stadium on the site of a former U.S. Army munitions plant in the Twin Cities suburb of Arden Hills. The Vikings have played at the Metrodome in Minneapolis since 1982.
The plan included a $350 million contribution from Ramsey County backed by an increase in the sales tax, $300 million from the state, and more than $400 million from the Vikings.
With a sales tax increase delayed at least until a November 2012 referendum that could still be rejected, several other potential sources of revenue were under consideration.
I think we made progress because we are narrowing it down to the real options that are available given the realities of the composition of the legislature and their properly authorized sensibilities on this matter, Dayton said.
Other potential sources of stadium funding include expanded use of pull-tab gaming, expanded gambling at horse racing tracks or even a casino in downtown Minneapolis. Taxes on sports memorabilia have also been raised as possibilities.
Dayton has been meeting with the leaders of the Republican-controlled state legislature, Ramsey County and Minneapolis, which has proposed three possible stadium sites. Dayton has not ruled out a site in Minneapolis or in Arden Hills.
Dayton said discussions had intensified and he expected to proceed with a special session, though completing it before Thanksgiving now might not be feasible.
Minnesota Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley said the team believed it was progress to bring the discussion on stadium funding forward and narrow the options. The Vikings remain behind the Arden Hills site and Ramsey County, he said.
You have to find a funding package that fits and we are confident that we are on track to get there, Bagley told reporters, adding that the specific type of funding would be up to state leaders.