Dayton and legislative leaders say sales tax increase won’t work for stadium

Gov. Dayton and the four legislative leaders say there isn’t support in the Legislature to exempt Ramsey County or Minneapolis from holding a referendum on a sales tax increase to pay for the Vikings stadium.

Officials on both sides of the river had proposed a sales tax increase to help pay for the new stadium. Ramsey County proposed a half cent sales tax increase to raise $350 million for a $1.1 billion stadium in Arden Hills.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said a sales tax increase of 0.35 percent in Minneapolis could help pay for a stadium on one of three sites in his city. Rybak, however, also proposed a downtown casino as a way to raise the city’s share of the stadium.

Dayton says he is “now actively assessing and discussing with the team other financing options.” He plans to release his own stadium proposal next week and wants to call a special session for the week of Nov. 21.

Here’s the statement from Dayton, GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers, GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen and DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk:

Statement on Vikings Stadium talks

Saint Paul–At last Friday’s meeting of Legislative Leaders: Senators Amy Koch, Julie Rosen, Terri Bonoff, and Richard Cohen; Speaker Kurt Zellers; Representatives Morrie Lanning, Paul Thissen, and Terry Morrow; with Governor Dayton and Chairman Ted Mondale, the consensus among the legislative leadership was that there was not sufficient support in either body to exempt Ramsey County or the City of Minneapolis from holding a referendum on increasing a local sales tax to finance a Vikings stadium. The participants requested the weekend to assess that conclusion.

Today, Governor Dayton and the Leaders of the Republican and DFL Caucuses in the House and Senate reaffirm that there is not majority support in either body for an exemption from a voter referendum. Without such an exemption, the earliest either Ramsey County or the City of Minneapolis could conduct a referendum would be in conjunction with the November 2012 General Election.

Governor Dayton said, “Last Friday’s meeting was very significant in eliminating one proposed source of financing for a People’s Stadium in either Ramsey County or Minneapolis, unless the Vikings are willing to endure the time delay and continuing uncertainty in obtaining voters’ approval. Given this reality, we are now actively assessing and discussing with the team other financing options.”

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