ST. PAUL (AP) -- Legislators may have opened the door for funding a new sports stadium and other projects by providing $3 million for the Guthrie Theater, Gov. Jesse Ventura said.
Lawmakers overrode Ventura's veto to provide the Guthrie funding.
''They now got us into building theaters. That's a very slippery slope. How do we turn down Dudley Riggs? How do we turn down the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre?'' Ventura asked during an interview with the Star Tribune.
''I want to know, and here's my question, how do the people who voted for the Guthrie vote against a stadium? How do they justify that? Both are in the entertainment industry. Both have equal statewide significance.''
Ventura said he probably would let funding for a new stadium go into law without his signature if it were passed by the legislature.
''I'd have to think on it and look at it and see what the deal is, but I would be inclined to say, 'Hey, they'll override my veto anyway.''
Funding the Guthrie is not precedent-setting, said Sen. Richard Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, a supporter of the Guthrie funding and a member of the capital improvements conference committee.
''We have provided capital bonding support for arts and cultural facilities for a minimum of 10 years,'' said Cohen.
''There were other parts of the bonding bill that he agreed to that were much more precedent-setting than this.'' The Gillette Children's Hospital in St. Paul was given $7 million for an addition, he said. ''I don't think we've ever provided money before for a private nonprofit hospital.''
Funding a theater is not like funding a stadium, Cohen said.
''Professional sports are a profit activity, where teams are either owned by an individual or an individual corporate entity, and they are in business to make a profit,'' he said.
''(And) when nonprofit artistic and cultural organizations seek public support ... they're not coupling that with threats to leave town,'' Cohen said.
Ventura, however, said giving the Guthrie planning money amounts to an invitation for theater officials to return. The Guthrie had sought $25 million to help finance a $75 million plan to build a larger theater complex along the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis.
''Rest assured it isn't going to stop at this little pittance of money,'' Ventura said. ''This opened the door. They'll be back next session, I think, wanting a very large sum of money.''
James Morrison, the Guthrie's director of communications, said, ''It's to be expected that once we work through the planning stages, it's quite likely we'd come back.''
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