As the campaign for a Minnesota Vikings stadium heats up, House Taxes Committee Chair Greg Davids said he is willing to support a stadium deal even if local residents don't get to vote on a proposed sales tax increase.
"I am probably one of the only ones that will stand up and say that if elected officials decide to do (the sales tax), that it's fine," Davids said.
Both Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch want voters to have a chance to cast their ballots on a proposed sales tax increase to help fund the stadium. The Ramsey County Charter Commission decided last night that the sales tax proposal won't have to go before the voters. That tax would raise $350 million to cover the county's share of the cost for building the stadium in Arden Hills.
While the decision not to put the sales tax before voters gets rid of one hurdle for the Vikings, a new report released today by the Metropolitan Council raises other concers. That report concludes that the team's timeline for getting the stadium built by 2015 is too ambitious and that it would likely take a year or two longer. Each year of delay would add an estimated $46 million to the stadium's $1.1 billion pricetag. You can read the report here.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton issued a written response to the report. He said, " I am willing to support a stadium in either Arden Hills or Minneapolis stadium, as long as the project’s financing, including any contingencies, is clearly defined and agreed upon by the representatives of the affected parties."
He added he plans to meet with legislative leaders, team owners, local officials and others to talk about a stadium deal. The big question is whether the governor will call a special session for the stadium.
Davids said he is open to holding legislative hearings on the stadium plan. The Preston Republican said he voted for the Twins stadium deal after Hennepin County commissioners decided to impose a sales tax hike to pay for the stadium. He said he believes it should be left up to local officials to make that call.
"I am not going to play any games like chairs have done in the past blocking hearings and all that," Davids said. "I would vote for a plan that would let the elected officials make the decisions."