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Another hearing on proposed Ramsey County sales tax hike for stadium

The Ramsey County Charter Commission holds another hearing tonight on whether to let residents vote on a proposed sales tax increase that would help pay for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium in Arden Hills.

The commission may vote on the proposal after the hearing; at last count, it wasn’t clear whether the pro-vote faction had enough votes to pass the issue.

The hearing is at 6:30 p.m. in the Ramsey County Courthouse in downtown St. Paul.

Leaders on the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners have negotiated a tentative deal with the Vikings to pay $350 million towards the stadium, backed by the proceeds of a half-cent sales tax increase incurred only in Ramsey County. The state would contribute $300 million, and the team would pay at least $400 million of the billion-dollar-plus stadium pricetag. The Legislature hasn’t yet approved the state portion of the deal.

Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders are waiting for a Metropolitan Council report on the feasibility of the Arden Hills site before moving forward with plans for a special session.

Tonight’s Charter Commission hearing is the second; on Sept. 28 the hearing was dominated by those opposed to public subsidies for the team. Those supporting the stadium plan fear that if the matter is put to a vote, it will kill the proposal, both because it’s considered tough to pass a tax-increase measure in these financial times, and because putting the question on the November 2012 ballot would cause more delays for the proposed stadium.

And its unclear what would happen if the Legislature approves the stadium measure and allows the county to bypass the vote.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by T J Simplot on 10/11/2011 - 10:38 am.

    Just a reminder that the sales tax would be paid by ANYONE who makes purchases in Ramsey County, not just by Ramsey County residents.

  2. Submitted by greg copeland on 10/11/2011 - 02:04 pm.

    TRUTH IN BOND ISSUES…Ramsey Co. Share will cost
    $674,907,878 in New Sales Taxes

    The Media, new and old, continue to discount the actual cost of the proposed Ramsey County “contribution” to Zygi’s Stadium.

    The Ramsey County Board of County Commissioners paid their financial consultant, Springstead, to produce a 30 year Sales Tax Revenue Bond Schedule showing the cost to retire the $375,550,000 bond issue for the proposed new Viking’s Stadium.

    Springstead’s report declared the cost to be:

    $674,907,878…NOT $350 million which your report continues to cite in error.

    Editors: please step up, this Sales Tax Revenue Schedule was produced on May 27, 2011.

  3. Submitted by Brian Duren on 10/11/2011 - 07:47 pm.

    NFL team owners are extortionists who could pay for new stadiums themselves but threaten to move their teams unless communities hand over hundreds of millions of dollars to make the billionaires even richer. The system of extortion exists because politicians don’t have the guts to stand up and say no. The way to deal with an extortionist is to say, NO! Just say, NO! Once team owners learn they can no longer extort money from communities, they’ll stop demanding it. Will the Wilf brothers move their team? Maybe. Let them. Then the Vikings will be someone else’s problem. The worst that can happen to our community is a few immature adults will have to grow up and learn how to get along without the Vikings. Tch tch. Life is difficult.

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