State Rep. Alice Hausman, of St. Paul, has been circulating a one-page letter to her fellow Ramsey County lawmakers, a day ahead of an expected county board vote on opening talks with the Minnesota Vikings.
The letter calls on the seven commissioners to rethink their plans to open negotiations with the NFL team on a possible new stadium in Arden Hills, site of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant.
“The county has been assuring us they would never agree to taxes, but, as we learned from the Twins’ experience, we won’t be asked,” Hausman said. “It will be simply imposed on us by legislators from other parts of the state who can then say they saved the Vikings, and it won’t cost their taxpayers a dime.”
Hausman also says its the wrong time for counties to be building stadiums, as the expected cuts from the state’s projected $6.2 billion dollar budget deficit get passed along to local governments. She says Ramsey County may simply be a tool to leverage a better deal out of Minneapolis and Hennepin County.
Hausman says she has 11 of the 23 members of the Ramsey County delegation signed on already, and thinks she can get more. She does appear to have a majority of the county’s House delegation as co-signers.
Other signatories include Reps. Erin Murphy, Sheldon Johnson, Mindy Greiling, Bev Scalze, Rena Moran, Carlos Mariani, Nora Slawik and Michael Paymar. Senators John Marty and Ellen Anderson.
The letter hasn’t been officially handed over to Ramsey County yet, but it may not make much difference. County officials expect the board to approve moving ahead with the Vikings by a wide margin at their meeting on Tuesday. The vote could go as high as 6-1.
It doesn’t include any numbers, but county officials have been telling lawmakers that a half-cent sales tax in the county could pay the debt service on $300 million in bonds — potentially the county’s share of some 9-figure stadium deal.
The county board will be taking up the matter tomorrow morning. Their meeting starts at 9 AM.
Here’s the letter: