Sixteen Republican House members say they are a bloc of “no” votes if any Vikings stadium legislation includes additional taxes.
In an op-ed in today’s Star Tribune, state Reps. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, and Kathy Lohmer, R-Lake Elmo — backed by 14 other Republicans in the House — say that leaders should be focused on the state budget and spending problems, not giving money to “billionaire owners and millionaire players.”
It’s implied, but not explicitly stated, that they’d be opposed to the additional sales tax being planned to pay Ramsey County’s $350 million contribution to the stadium development. Stadium supporters also say they need $300 million from the state coffers.
Said the piece:
…we continue reading about the alleged ‘need’ for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium. Now even Gov. Mark Dayton is calling for a possible special legislative session to respond to this issue.
The media is fixated on the stadium idea because it’s sexier than the economy. It’s more controversial.
But in our view, the idea of heaping more taxation on Minnesota’s families and businesses is extremely shortsighted.
Let’s face it; Minnesotans won’t stand for $600 million in new taxes being used to help build a new stadium. Especially in light of the fact that we could face another significant budget shortfall when the state’s economic forecast is released after Thanksgiving.
It’s not prudent to propose placing another burden on taxpayers just days before our state’s fiscal picture is clarified.
A special session is meant to be called only under extraordinary circumstance.
Does taking money from the wallets of Minnesota’s taxpayers and giving it to billionaire owners and millionaire players truly qualify as extraordinary?
And it concludes:
Further, poll after poll has shown that the public does not want taxes raised to build a new Vikings stadium.
At some point, shouldn’t we listen to the majority of Minnesotans who want their state government to live within its means?
Yet Dayton thinks we’re facing a fourth-and-long situation, and may be ready to go for it — with a special session that would address this stadium debate in the coming weeks.
If so, we hope he’s watching the scoreboard. He needs 68 out of 134 votes in the Minnesota House for a stadium bill to be approved.
If the legislation contains funding arrived at through additional taxes, we guarantee the governor is already trailing 16-0.
Besides Drazkowski and Lohmer, the op-ed was signed by these Republican House members:
- Doug Wardlow of Eagan,
- David Hancock of Bemidji,
- Linda Runbeck of Circle Pines,
- Ernie Leidiger of Mayer,
- Bruce Anderson of Buffalo Township,
- Mary Franson of Alexandria,
- Glenn Gruenhagen of Glencoe,
- Ron Shimanski of Silver Lake,
- Kurt Bills of Rosemount,
- Peggy Scott of Andover,
- Joe McDonald of Delano,
- Kurt Daudt of Crown,
- Kelby Woodard of Belle Plaine
- Sondra Erickson of Princeton.