Dayton supports vote on stadium tax but Ramsey County says public vote could kill the deal

Gov. Mark Dayton says he supports letting Ramsey County residents vote on whether they want to pay an extra sales tax to help fund a new Vikings stadium in Arden Hills, reports MPR.

But county officials, who’ve been working with the team for months to get a stadium proposal, say letting residents have a voice likely would kill the deal.

The governor was asked about the stadium while at the fair Monday:

Dayton told fairgoers that he thinks there are a lot of unanswered questions about Arden Hills, and that even though Hennepin County built Target Field without a referendum, he said a countywide vote now might be appropriate.

“It’s Ramsey County’s issue, but I’d be supportive of it,” he said. “In a case like this, people should have their own voice. We should do it somewhat expeditiously, like this November, so we can get it decided one way or another because the clock is ticking.”

MPR heard from Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett, who said a referendum on the tax could kill the deal:

“I don’t think you could get a library passed on a referendum. Never mind an ice arena or a playground, if it were the only issue on the ballot. No matter what we put on a ballot today that costs money, I don’t think anybody would look at it.”

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by dean braun on 08/30/2011 - 12:26 pm.

    Of course, if the citizens of Ramsey County get a chance to vote on a tax for the Viking stadium, it will not pass. The same would have happened in Hennepin County on the Twins Stadum. So the Met Council never gave us the right to vote. That is what I call a “TRUE DEMOCRATIC VOTE”.

  2. Submitted by will lynott on 08/30/2011 - 07:42 pm.

    So, Tony Bennett thinks if the public is allowed to decide it kills the stadium?

    What on Earth is his point?

  3. Submitted by Bruce Bednarek on 08/31/2011 - 09:51 am.

    Help, what am I missing here? Isn’t this democracy at a grass roots level, ie; “we the people”? If the result of the referendum is that the additional sales tax will not happen and the stadium will not be built – so be it.

    Isn’t this more than the stadium or sales tax? Isn’t this about a small group trying to restrict the rights of a larger group (the taxpayers and people who live in Ramsey County) to achieve there personal goal? I think the old adage “two wrongs (Twins stadium plus a new Vikings stadium)don’t make a right” applies here.

  4. Submitted by James Hamilton on 08/31/2011 - 11:46 am.

    Don’t vote because we lose? Sharp thinking, there, Commissioners. Does it occur to you that maybe you should lose?

  5. Submitted by Richard O'Neil on 08/31/2011 - 11:47 am.

    So Tony, do we only let voters decide on those issues that you deem to be safe? What kind of democracy is that?

  6. Submitted by greg copeland on 08/31/2011 - 03:08 pm.

    The Ramsey County Commissioners attempted to hijack our County Charter when they signed off on agreement with the Vikings on May 10, 2011 that
    reads on page 10:
    “NO REFERENDUM: No referendum shall be required for the County to issue bonds or levy the aforementioned taxes to the the bonds.”

    Page 5 declares: “The County agrees to take action at the County Board level…” to agree on the revenue source and issue the bonds for the Vikings stadium…”subject to Legislative approval”, not the County Charter.

    Imagine the elected officials of Minnesota’s only Charter County agreeing to ignore the People and their powers under the Charter.

    How un-Minnesotan is that?

  7. Submitted by Ott Lukk on 08/31/2011 - 09:30 pm.

    As I recall, the Hennepin county board did a similar two-step to avoid a public vote. I also recall an article about a judge chastising a couple of attorneys for ojecting to this sidestep. Hopefully someone here can recall and repost that article. Governor Dayton thinks there are a “lot of unanswered questions”? Answer this one: Why are all these politicans trying to jam this down the public’s throat?

  8. Submitted by Dale Hoogeveen on 09/03/2011 - 07:22 pm.

    It seems to me that if Ramsey County is already officially committed, then that commitment is already subject to referendum, or it can’t be considered binding.

    So where are the Tea Partiers who should be screaming about new taxes on an unwilling population without representation! The silence is deafening on perhaps the only issue I could agree with them on.

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