Funding foe John Marty blasts sales tax formula for Vikes stadium

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.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Rod Loper on 07/13/2011 - 01:38 pm.

    For the majority over at the capitol a hit to the tax base of the cities of the first class is just fine when it provides socialism for the well-heeled. How about taxing the rich to fund the stadium?

  2. Submitted by Bruce Pomerantz on 07/13/2011 - 10:15 pm.

    >Ramsey County and the state each would chip >in about $300 million . . . .

    Unless Ramsey County pays in cash from its reserves, the cost will be much much more due to interest payments on bonds sold to provide the $300 million upfront. In the interest of accuracy, I suggest that whenever Ramsey County’s share is reported, the statement be, “$300 million upfront from the sale of bonds and an additional $20 million each year for 30 years to repay the bonds, for a total of $900 million paid for by an imposed sales tax the residents will not be allowed to vote on as required by current statute.”

  3. Submitted by Sue Halligan on 07/14/2011 - 03:42 pm.

    Go, Marty!

  4. Submitted by greg copeland on 07/14/2011 - 04:10 pm.

    Bruce,#2, is right about full funding disclosure of principle and interest costs of the bonds Ramsey County Commissioners propose to sell to buy Zygi, the New Jersey Billionaire, his Palace in Arden Hills, for his Vikings.

    The Ramsey County Commission paid its financal consultant, Springstead, to prepare and issue such a schedule of costs on May 27, 2011.

    Springstead projected a 30 year revenue bond schedule with a principle of $373,550,000 based on a half cent Ramsey County sales tax, with total interest costs of $301,357,878 through the year 2042, when the bonds would be retired.

    Total principle and interest: $674,907,878. This is only Ramsey County’s ‘share’, it does not include the $300 million in State funds that Gov. Dayton has promised to hand over to Zygi to build his new stadium.

    And Zygi gets All The People’s Cash without any referendum, according to Dayton and the Ramsey County Commissioners. It is amazing what Minnesota governments will do for a guy from New Jersey.

    It will soon be up to the Legislature to kill this deal outright; or to give Minnesota voters the right to a referendum to decide the matter of how we want to spend our money!

  5. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/18/2011 - 11:16 am.

    I while back I did a pretty extensive study of the basic economics behind these stadium deals on my blog. They’re bad public policy, and bad economics, Marty is right.

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