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Vikings Stadium Local Tax Referendum (2012)
The proposed measure would require that any spending or bonding would have to go before voters.
The local veto referendum has been proposed by opponents of state and local funding for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium. Under the current agreement reached between Ramsey County and the Vikings, the Vikings would contribute $407 million (39%), the county would contribute $350 million (33%), and the state would contribute $300 million (28%) to the project. The county plans to cover the cost by increasing its sales tax by half of one percent.
While tax increases of this kind normally require voter approval, the Target Field project circumvented this process via state law. However, supporters of the referendum contend that if no prior vote on the tax is allowed, a veto referendum after passage of the plan is still legally possible. Supporters estimate that they would need to collect 25,000 signature in Ramsey county to put the measure on the ballot.
Gov. Mark Dayton has stated that he supports funding the project up to $300 million, however some fear that necessary road and infrastructure upgrades may push the final bill above that figure. On November 1, 2011 Dayton and legislative leaders announced that there isn't enough legislative support to pass a local tax increase. Voter approval would be required.
A Star Tribune poll found that 62% of respondents prefer the Vikings to remain at the Metrodome. The poll also found that 74% of respondents oppose using public money for the project. The poll, conducted May 2-5, surveyed 806 Minnesota adults with a sampling error of +/- 4.7 percent.
Path to the ballot
A minimum of 5 percent of the county's registered voters (14,875 valid signatures) are required to qualify the proposal for the November ballot.
As of early 2012, the state legislature is considering a legislative bill for a public-private partnership to build a $975 million downtown Minneapolis stadium. The House Rules Committee voted on April 5, 2012 in favor of the bill. The House Government Operations Committee is tentatively scheduled to consider the proposal on April 17. The proposal is supported by White Earth Nation.
The Ramsey County Charter Commission will hold two public meetings for people to weigh in on the proposed measure:
- September 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm at the New Brighton Community Center, 400 10th St. N.W.
- October 11, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ramsey County Courthouse Council Chambers, 15 W. Kellogg Blvd.
- Governing, "Minnesota Vikings Must Build on Metrodome Site for State Funding," January 25, 2012
- Associated Press, "Group against using tax dollars to fund new Vikings stadium renews effort to let voters decide," January 7, 2012
- Politics in Minnesota, "Crying Wilf: Minnesota Vikings’ move out of state is unlikely," October 28, 2011
- Hometown Source, "Pro amendment supporters dominate charter commission hearing," accessed September 29, 2011
- Minnesota Public Radio, "Dayton says he'd support a Vikings stadium referendum," August 29, 2011
- TwinCities.com, "Critics of taxes for Vikings stadium in Arden Hills gather signatures," January 9, 2012
- Star Tribune, "Vikings, Ramsey Co. strike deal," May 11, 2011
- Twin Cities Business, "Stadium Opponents Pursue Public Vote for Funding," May 17, 2011
- Minnesota Public Radio, "No sales tax for Vikings stadium," November 2, 2011
- Star Tribune, "Poll Data: Majority say Dome is good enough," May 10, 2011
- TwinCities.com, "Ramsey County opponents of Vikings stadium to seek charter amendment banning public funding," January 6, 2012
- Associated Press, "Vikings Stadium Bill Presses On in Minnesota House," April 6, 2012
- KTSP, "Ramsey Panel to Hear from Public on Vikings Stadium Tax," September 28, 2011