Dayton “runs into” Vikings owner

Gov. Mark Dayton signed the omnibus agriculture bill this morning and took questions afterward. He mentioned that he’d happened upon Zygi Wilf, the Vikings owner, in town to stump for the stadium bill parked at the Capitol this week.

Dayton gave some daylight to those mythical “local partners” that the deal counts on. He suggested a car rental and metro hotel tax might play into a deal, meaning a city or county would have to raise less with a potential sales or other local tax — a much easier proposition to sell to a county board or city council.

Otherwise, he hit the usual points, including his staunch optimism that a deal is in the offing. Here’s a truncated version of the questions, and a transcript of Dayton’s answers.

Q: You met with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf?

A: Well, I was leaving the University Club speaking to the Metro Cities last night, and I just coincidentally, he was, it wasn’t planned. He was in the building, and so Lester Bagley realized I was in there. And I went down. It was just a very informal conversation. He seemed hopeful, and I said I was hopeful that this would be passed through the legislative process this session. It’s still to be determined, but I remain hopeful.

Q: What did you talk about?

A: I wasn’t planning on meeting with him, so I didn’t have anything specific to discuss. But it was just glad to see you again. And I understood that he had been meeting with some of the Legislators earlier in the day. And his son just got married. We talked a little bit about that and talked about how his son is 26, and they were back in town some day, I’d like to introduce him to my two sons, who are 30 and 27. It was really a pretty casual conversation.

Q: What are those hopes you spoke of based on?

A: Because we have some very good authors in both the House and the Senate, and bipartisan support in the both House and the Senate. And because I think it’s possible. Ted Mondale is really the person who’s spearheading this and has more of the details. And we’ll have a meeting next week… I’ll get briefed more fully.

But you know, I think there are some managable financial situations such that there would not be any general fund monies used, and so that the bulk of the costs would be born by the team, the Vikings, and also by the users of the stadium, as I’ve said before through surcharges on the tickets and the luxury suites, the beverage, the souvenirs. I also recommend that they look at car rental and hotel in the Metropolitan area. Car rental statewide, hotel in the metropolitan area because then you’ll have people from outside Minnesota paying off some of those costs.

So we’ll minimize any burden at all even with a local share on any taxpayers, and there will be nothing out of the general fund. And I think that’s going to be a workable package and one that ultimately will gain enough support in both the House and the Senate and I’ll sign it. So that’s the basis of my optimisim. But it’s to be determined.

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