Dayton Says No Tax Increase Allowed For New Stadium

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 at 7:43 am

Gov. Mark Dayton has ruled out a tax increase as a way to help pay for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, a major blow to both Ramsey County and the Vikings. In fact, this creates a $350 million gap in the team’s plan to build a $1.1 billion home in the suburbs north of the Twin Cities.

Stadium supporters on the Ramsey County Board had proposed raising the county sales tax by half a cent to come up with the $350 million local share of the overall cost. But Dayton says he talked with leading lawmakers from both parties and believes there is not enough support in the Legislature to exempt any proposed tax increase from a public vote — either in Ramsey County, or in Minneapolis if a stadium plan lands there instead. Most people believe that such a public vote would almost assuredly doom any stadium plan.

This development will likely cause a renewed focus on alternative sites, namely in downtown Minneapolis. Already up for debate: the current Metrodome site, and two sites near the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak issued a press release after Dayton’s announcement, calling his city “the best location for the Vikings, because it is the least expensive.”

Dayton and others have said they take seriously the possibility that the Vikings will leave for another city without a new stadium.

Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said the team’s focus remains on partnering with Ramsey County despite the setback.

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