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.