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Dayton: Don’t rush to judgment on electronic pulltabs, Vikings stadium funding

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DFL Governor Mark Dayton says the criticism about the less-than-expected gambling revenue needed to fund the state share of a new Vikings stadium is premature and politically motivated.

Republican critics like state Sen. Sean Nienow (R-Cambridge) have called for an investigation into the miscalculation. But Dayton said an investigation would be a waste of taxpayer money.

"What is there to investigate? I mean there were honest assumptions made. If somebody thinks there was wrongdoing then they should definitely produce the evidence that would support that." Dayton said in comments during a question-and-answer session in his office today. "Otherwise, it's slow getting off to a start. Everybody agrees with that. We missed the projections. Everybody agrees with that. We're working to correct it."

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Jeff Johnson (Henn. Co. photo)

He also responded to criticism of the stadium financing plan, leveled by Hennepin County commissioner Jeff Johnson in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. In an op-ed, Johnson asked whether the state's health insurance exchange would prove equally disappointing as the stadium plan.

"I think he's running for governor. I get more and more of that, now," Dayton said. "It's started. It's, you know, a year and a half away... there will be a lot of increasingly politically motivated raps, but I can take it."

Johnson told MPR last November he was weighing a run for governor.

Dayton also repeated his assertion that the stadium financing will work out in the end. He says the stadium law already spells out a funding alternative, and that there's no reason for the legislature to make further changes to the plan.

"You know, there's a backup of the surcharge on the suites, and also another gambling game, a lottery themed after the Vikings... I think this rush to judgement is very premature...A year from now, we'll have a firm basis to decide whether this is going to be sufficient as a source of funding, after it gets going, after we've got public acceptance around the state."