16 GOP legislators say no new taxes for stadium

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.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/20/2011 - 11:50 am.

    I’d hold my conservative bone fides up against any of these people’s when I tell you that their argument is misguided.

    If we’re going to raise taxes to pay for the cost of government, and I think a public sports stadium qualifies, then the acceptable way to do it is with taxes that are voluntary and consumption-based.

    With a sales tax, you’re not taxed unless you buy something and people can avoid paying a particularly onerous sales tax by driving a few miles and buying their stuff in a different city, county, or even crossing the border and buying it in a different state. (I once bought a car in a different state to avoid the high sales tax, but I digress.)

    A casino tax would be even better because that’s an even easier voluntary tax to avoid.

    To just say you’re against raising any taxes in general to pay for government is narrow-minded and obviously intended to impress their constituents when there’s a way to do it and remain true to your conservative principles.

  2. Submitted by greg copeland on 10/20/2011 - 04:22 pm.

    Sorry…Conservatives don’t buy Stadiums for Billionaires…I applaude Legislators who willing to tell Zygi and Dayton, NO NEW TAXES… If want to buy Zygi a new stadium, by a Full Priced Ticket! Don’t ask the rest of us to subsidize your entertainment to the tune of over a Billion Dollars…$675 Million,interest costs included, from a new 30 year Ramsey County sales; and another $300 Million from Minnesota’s empty bank account, means paying off $600 Million, principle and interest on 30 year State bonds.

    Viking fans should relax and enjoy the Dome; until Zygi figures out how to finance his dream stadium for his team, they are staying under the HHH Dome.
    The NFL is not going to give Loser Zygi the LA Franchise when he can’t manage to win on the field or make money in the Minneapolis market.

    Zygi is Zapped and all but Tapped Out…Viking’s are available cheap…at a deep discount in this jobless economy…without Dayton’s Bail-out, Zygi will be putting an attractive price on the team soon.

  3. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/20/2011 - 05:07 pm.

    @Dennis: I hope you went out of state for that car a long time ago. You’re supposed to pay the sales tax you avoided when you register the car in Minnesota.

  4. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/20/2011 - 09:13 pm.

    greg, like most liberals, you’re letting your envy and resentment of what other people have get in the way of logic and reason.

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