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Petition drive planned to stop Ramsey County sales tax for Vikings stadium

A group opposed to a plan to tax Ramsey County residents extra to help pay for a Vikings stadium in Arden Hills has plans to start a petition drive, now that the county’s Charter Commission has decided not to put the issue to a vote.

Andy Cilek of the Minnesota Voters Alliance said this morning that his group is “putting the finishing touches on our petition this morning and sending to our attorney for a quick review. Our plan is to start gathering signatures tomorrow on a charter amendment referendum petition.”

He said the group will gather the first 500 signatures, then submit them to the county attorney for review, as required by the county charter. “He has 30 days to respond to the sufficiency of petition and comments on authority of ballot wording, if any,” he said.

Tuesday night’s decision by the Charter Commission was considered a victory for the Vikings and their supporters on the Ramsey County Board who are working to complete a deal that would put the stadium in the northern St. Paul suburb. The plans calls for an extra 0.5 percent sales tax only in Ramsey County to pay the county’s share of the stadium subsidy: $350 million.

Stadium supporters had claimed that a vote on the extra tax might kill the deal.

While the commission didn’t support the vote, a report issued today by the Metropolitan Council raised other concerns. The report doesn’t say the state shouldn’t support the deal, but does indicate the proposed schedule is unrealistic and would cost more than expected.

Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/12/2011 - 10:42 am.

    Current law requires a vote. Any elected Ramsey County official who circumvents that law in this case does so at his or her political peril, whether a county commissioner, representative or senator.

  2. Submitted by Susan Woehrle on 10/12/2011 - 11:07 am.

    Apparently Ramsey County’s charter commission hasn’t read MN Statutes 2010 297A.99 subdivision 3 which says a referendum is required on all local sales taxes.

  3. Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 10/12/2011 - 03:31 pm.

    These hopelessly corrupt politicians will just add an exemption to the law just like they did for the Twins Stadium. Shearson Lehman or some other brokerage house will buy up all the bonds so they can sell them back to us at a profit.

    Then, with the money the billionaire welfare recipient saved from having the taxpayers subsidize his business, he’ll buy land and buildings around the new stadium, which, of course, will appreciate and turn a profit.

  4. Submitted by David Greene on 10/12/2011 - 05:26 pm.

    Is this a petition to put a referendum on the 2012 ballot? Is such a petition binding in Ramsey County? Of course the legislature can always override the vote, but having a vote would make it much harder politically to do so.

  5. Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 10/13/2011 - 12:07 am.

    Yes, that is what the statute says. The Legislature can waive that requirement however, which they did for the Twins stadium in Minneapolis. The Ramsey County Charter Commission has no authority to enforce that statute. All they were contemplating is an amendment to the Ramsey County charter to include a similar mandatory vote provision in the event the state waived the requirement.

  6. Submitted by T J Simplot on 10/13/2011 - 09:23 am.

    Two points:

    1. This would not be a tax on Ramsey County residents. This is a tax on ANYONE who spends money in Ramsey County. Lots of people work and spend money downtown that don’t live in Ramsey County. Lots of non-Ramsey County residents shop at Rosedale too.

    2. How many Hennepin County Commissioners were ousted from office after voting for the Twins Stadium? Zero

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