Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, never has been a fan of public funding of stadiums for pro sports teams.
But Marty says that residents of Ramsey County and the state Legislature need to take a deep breath and look far more closely at the numbers before doing a deal with the Vikings for a $1 billion stadium in Arden Hills.
Under terms the deal, that keeps percolating beneath the surface even in the midst of the legislative shutdown, Ramsey County and the state each would chip in about $300 million and the Vikes would pay the rest.
“The Vikings legislation would hit Ramsey County taxpayers more than three times as hard as the Hennepin sales tax for the Twins’ ballpark, yet at the capitol there has been almost no discussion of the local impact,” Marty said in a statement this morning. “For every 30 cents Hennepin County taxpayers pay for the Twins ballpark, Ramsey County taxpayers would be paying $1 for the Vikings tax, that’s three times the tax increase.’’
It should be noted that St. Paul City Council members and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman have expressed similar despair over the deal that many believe still could slip through a special session.
Marty noted that despite the comparatively high cost to Ramsey County residents, virtually all the talk at the Capitol about the stadium has revolved around concern for the state’s share.
“The Vikings lobbyists and their political allies have a big reason to avoid discussion of the sales tax increase,’’ Marty said. “They don’t want people to figure out how expensive this is.’’
Coleman has been trying to sell the concept that if the Vikings are an asset, they’re an asset to the entire state, and therefore the entire state should pitch in on the public portion of the stadium.
For the moment, stadium supporters have been staying under the radar, knowing that stadium subsidies are never popular but would be wildly unpopular in the midst of a government shutdown.