Vikings Stadium Debate Won’t Go Away
As if we weren’t already sick of the back-and-forth over a new Vikings stadium, another new bill was introduced in the state Legislature on Friday to fund the plan and get it off the cutting room floor.
The already controversial plan to raise as much as $300 million in state funds will allow a local government to create its own tax hike to put the project together. The key, as the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, is the legislation would allow a local government to levy its own taxes, such as a sales tax, without having to put the question to voters on a ballot, as is otherwise required.
This would mirror the process the Twins went through in 2006 to get Target Field.
The Vikings bill doesn’t name a site for the stadium but lays out a process through which one could be selected by late spring 2012.
The Vikings’ lease at the Metrodome expires after this coming season.
While the dome’s operators have said they could extend the lease, team officials have made it clear they want a new home despite little support from the public or state lawmakers.
The stadium is expected to cost about $900 million. And while the Vikings would pick up one-third of that bill, the state and local governments are also expected to put in their share — something not necessarily at the top of lawmakers’ lists as they grapple with a $5 billion budget deficit.
The bill sponsors said they expected some pushback.
“It’s a good start to a situation where there is no site picked or local partner,” said Republican Sen. Julie Rosen. “This has the state’s share, and like many things, that’s negotiable. This is just a start.”
However, a lot of state lawmakers are pretty pissed about this latest attempt to skirt state sales tax laws.
They feel — and rightly so I believe — that if there’s going to be a new tax, then the people who would PAY that tax should get to vote on it.
“[I’m] irate. That Twins stadium never would have passed if it had a referendum,” Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville, told the Star Tribune. The Vikings stadium would be sure not to pass, she said, “because that’s not even as popular as the Twins stadium.”
There you have it. And it’s true. The Vikings aren’t popular enough in this godforsaken state to get support for a new stadium the legal way.
They’re the lowest revenue-producing team in the league — yes probably in part because their stadium sucks ass — but they don’t have the tools in place to reverse their miserable 2010-11 season this year or anytime soon and their management is too stubborn to face the facts.
Skirting state laws or not, this latest attempt at stadium funding will get nowhere fast. Just like every other proposal in the past couple years.