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Moorhead legislator doesn’t want Ramsey County residents to vote on stadium tax

State Rep. Morrie Lanning says letting Ramsey County residents vote on referendum to raise county sales taxes to pay for a proposed Vikings stadium in Arden Hills would kill the deal.

Lanning, a Republican from Moorhead, is a big Vikings booster and House author of the stadium bill. He wants the Legislature to approve the deal with a provision that bypasses a county-wide vote on the tax increase.

Lanning, quoted in the Pioneer Press, said: “For all intents and purposes, I think [a county vote] would kill the project, for that location. If somebody wanted to kill the project, that would be a good way to do it.”

Involving voters, no matter how they vote, would mean a huge delay in the deal, Lanning said.

Other top legislators, including Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, also a Republican, favor a referendum.

Of course, there still is no actual stadium bill ready for legislators to vote on. And Lester Bagley, the Vikings’ vice president of public affairs and stadium development, told the paper he wouldn’t speculate on a referendum’s impact because the proposal for the stadium hasn’t been finalized.

The paper says we’re not hearing too much about the Arden Hills plan these days because there’s an environmental and technical review that won’t be ready until next month.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/22/2011 - 11:23 am.

    If delay were the real problem, you could put it to a vote today, no details needed.

    All some of us need to know is that Ramsey County taxpayers will be on the hook if it’s built with general obligation bonds. Build it without county funds and it’s all yours. Otherwise, don’t circumvent current state law to build it without voters’ consent.

    By the way, Rep. Lanning, I’d love to know what your position was on the federal stimulus act, President Obama’s current jobs plan, and, if you opposed both, how you reconcile this with your support for a government bailout of the Vikings.

  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/22/2011 - 11:27 am.

    My bad on the bonds reference in my initial post. The .5% Ramsey County sales tax slipped my mind. Which raises another question for Rep. Lanning: Wasn’t “no new taxes” your position on the state budget just a few months ago?

  3. Submitted by Jerry Buerge on 09/22/2011 - 04:18 pm.

    This being what he said:

    “Purple Pride reigns in Minnesota, and people overwhelmingly want the Vikings to stay in Minnesota for many years to come. Keeping the Vikings in Minnesota will require a local government partner as well as enabling state legislation,” said state Rep. Morrie Lanning (R-Moorhead), co-author of the bill in the House.

    “If the Vikings were to leave, Minnesota would lose a state asset and $20 million dollars or more in tax revenue every year,” Lanning continued. “That’s money we use to fund our schools, nursing homes, and public safety. As we work to rebuild Minnesota’s economy, we have to do everything within reason to maintain our quality of life and keep our state moving toward economic recovery.”


    Then he should DEMAND that the entire state pay the public price for the stadium OR that the citizens of Ramsey County be awarded the added tax income generated in a direct ratio to the funding provide by them for their exclusive use during the entire life of the new stadium.

  4. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 09/22/2011 - 07:15 pm.

    Don’t want to let you vote because then they might lose a battle in their “Class warfare transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich”
    The GOP is working hard to to deny the vote to normal citizens,. Where in the literal constitution does it say “Government issued Picture ID required”?
    The GOP is looking more like King George, Only land owners, read wealthy, get the vote, the rest of us, financial servitude to banks, landlords, credit cards and “Sports franchise” masters.

    So much for democracy it appears their objective is to deny the vote and yoke the people!

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