St. Paul Officials Oppose Ramsey-Vikings Plan

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The proposal to build a new Minnesota Vikings stadium in Ramsey County is running into stiff opposition from elected officials in the county’s largest city.

Minnesota Public Radio News reported Tuesday ( ) that six of seven St. Paul City Council members are against a proposed half-cent county sales tax to help fund construction of a stadium in Arden Hills. The council doesn’t have the power to stop the Ramsey County Board from raising the tax, but several council members said they may take a non-binding vote against it anyway.

“In order to support a sales tax in someone’s community, you have to demonstrate a net gain financially for that community, and that net gain isn’t there on this proposal,” council member Pat Harris said.

According to an estimate by the Minnesota Department of Revenue, 47 percent of Ramsey County’s taxable sales come from St. Paul. In addition, 52 percent of the county’s 12,000 taxable businesses are in the city.

Under the plan put forth by the Vikings and Ramsey County commissioners, the $1.1 billion stadium would be built in the suburb north of St. Paul with contributions from the team, the county and the state. Legislators did not vote on the proposal before they adjourned last week, but it could be revived in an expected special session to finish the state budget.

Some critics of the Ramsey County proposal have questioned whether the county even has the necessary sales tax base to cover its proposed share. But a consultant’s report commissioned by county officials, using projections from the Minnesota Department of Revenue, found that it does — if barely.

“The basic coverage requirement for the bonds has been met,” said the report prepared by Springsted, a national public sector advising group with an office in St. Paul.

The report said the county’s net sales tax revenues would need to exceed $28.2 million a year to be able to market construction bonds; the Department of Revenue estimated $30.1 million in proceeds in 2011, and estimated that number would tick slightly upward in each of the five ensuing years.

But the report noted the bond coverage could be affected by interest rate spikes and the county’s ability to effectively collect the new sales tax.

Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough, whose district includes St. Paul neighborhoods, supports the stadium plan. He said it would be a mistake for Ramsey County to pass up the chance to add a sizable tract of land to its property tax rolls.

McDonough pointed out that suburban taxpayers help pay for city projects such as the Central Corridor Light Rail line now under construction.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • My 2 cents

    A half-cent increase equals St. Paul “constituents shouldn’t shoulder such a large tax burden” So for anyone who spends 10,000 in Ramsey County on taxable goods ends up paying like 50 in stadium tax?

    I get that nobody likes taxes…but i would hardly consider 50 a “large tax burden” especially for those rich enough to drop 10K a year on taxable purchases.

    • tom

      give ziggy your 2 cents but I want to keep mine.

      • Good Ol Boy

        Ziggy gets none of your money.

        I see the problem here is that people don’t comprehend what they’re reading enough to make an intelligent comment.

        Exhibit one has been entered by tom. Thanks tom.

  • BeenThereDoneThat

    Have they considered the losses of revenue if the Vikings leave. We are not only talking about the construction, but lost revenue restaurants, bars, hotels and all the general employment jobs with the Vikings. I am a fan, but even non fans must realize what a blow to the area would be with no NFL team. We would become a second class city. I am willing to pay a sales tax.

    • MARK

      The Vikings aren’t going anywhere, they have nowhere to go. The Chargers, Bills, and Jaguars are all more likely to move to LA than the Vikings. So that leaves…Toronto? Mexico City?

      I’m not saying that I do or do not support taxpayer funding for a stadium in Minnesota. I’m saying that we shouldn’t let the team threaten the state with leaving–it’s a hollow threat.

      • Ferris Lind

        Go copy more stuff off of ESPN . and get a real Opinion

      • Respectfully Disagree

        Unless you are an executive with the NFL or a close friend of Ziggy…..I’m not sure how much i buy your assurance the team leaving the state is a “hollow threat”

        Plus the ONLY team that you named even remotely likey to move to LA would be the Jaguars…..followed by the Vikings (in my opinion).

        • MARK

          Well nothing is certain, not even if I was a close friend of Ziggy. But the Vikings moving just doesn’t make sense. The Jaguars, as you say, are the likeliest team to move. They have stadium AND fan base issues–they’ve blacked out every home game on TV for two straight years. The Bills and Chargers also both have stadium AND fan base issues. The Vikings have only a stadium issue.

          It’s my opinion that the NFL is desperate to make it work here in Minnesota and is only floating the possibility of LA as leverage for the new stadium. Outside the Lines on ESPN did a show recently about football in LA and identified the Chargers as most likely to move, followed by the Jaguars and Bills, with the Vikings fourth most likely.

          I support keeping the Vikings here in a new stadium, but I don’t appreciate the Vikings and the NFL threatening us, especially when, in my opinion, the threat is hollow. Talk to us about the long history of the Vikings and the economic benefits they provide, but drop the LA boogeyman.

          • Jack

            I am sure Cleveland fans never thought the Browns would move to Baltimore, or Colts fans that the Colts would move to Indy

    • Art

      So the person with $500 bucks to spend on tickets and food is not going to spend it elsewhere in this state? If out of town numbers were significant the Vikings would be pushing about how much money that brings in. You cannot find a reputable study that shows the large publicly financed stadiums return the money to the state.

    • tom

      MPLS is already a ghetto city and St Paul is already a 2nd class city.

  • Go away Ziggy

    Go away Ziggy. How many times do you need to be told the taxpayers of MN aren’t interested in supporting you?

    • Good Ol Boy

      @Go away Ziggy

      I see you aren’t letting the fact that you don’t understand the issue stop you from making idiotic comments with no basis in logic or truth.

      Good for you for standing your ground.

    • Jim

      “I, for one, am very interesting”

      And that’s a big deal, because you’re SOMEBODY.

    • M B

      Where are you getting this vacuous 9 billion dollar price tag from?

      The highest valuated team by Forbes is the Dallas Cowboys at $1.8 billion. The Vikes don’t even make the top 10.

      Please stop trying to pollute the fact pool in an attempt to sway public opinion.

      • MARK

        $9 billion is about what the entire NFL made last year and is what the owners and players are haggling about right now. I assume that’s where this number came from. No single team in any sport in the world is worth $9 billion.

    • Please tell me mister wise one

      So let me axe this question. If they’re worth $9 billion, why do they need to take money from the poor taxpayers?

      Can Mr. Big Shot ‘splain that?

    • And that's what I have to say about that

      Let’s allow everybody to vote and see if the nobody’s “no” votes trump the important people’s “yes'” votes.

    • v

      The uninformed / misinformed taxpaying community would vote down a tax to ensure unbridled freedom and eternal bliss if it were up for a vote. NOBODY WANTS TO PAY TAXES…. but they all want the perks of living in a safe, clean, vibrant community. Sorry… but there aren’t any genies out there in a bottle. Ask any taxpayer how much they’re taxed now, and on what. 95% of them have no clue. Ask them how much they think a 1/2 cent sales tax would amount to… and the percentage would go up. The same people who are against supporting large business interests would be the first to bitch about not getting a flight (see Northwest Airlines) or the lack of jobs/careers (see 3M, Honeywell, Medtronic).
      Get your head out of the sand people.


    I do not live in the metro area anymore, but knowing the area’s as I do, the Ramsey county site is better than staying down town in Mpls or St Paul. The area is large enough to still have an open area for the wild life and I am sure the owner of the Vikings have taken this in to account. Like it or not, that is the best place for the stadium. I do not go to games because I don’t like crouds anymore. But I do watch on TV. If they descided to State wide with the taax I wouldn’ mind. I did give my state Rep an idea. maybe the Tribes would kick in the States portion to keep the Raceno’s out. Food for thought.

    • See how that goes

      I LOVE IT….let’s strong arm the Indians into paying for the Vikings by threatening to build Raceno’s.

      I am actually ok with that plan…the Natives might have a different view however.

    • tom

      How bout we build our racino’s, and tell ziggy we don’t want to spend our tax dollars on HIS business.

      • Good Ol Boy

        Once again, the uninformed, uneducated “tom” speaks up but says nothing based in truth.

        Ziggy gets nothing out of this deal. The stadium will be owned by the state of MN, not Ziggy Wilf.

        Please, please, please try and get that through your thick and impenetrable skull.

  • Todd

    It baffles me that these elected officials are trying, at all costs, to prevent our NFL team from staying here. We’ll likely not ever get out of this budget hole all of our elected officials, past and present, have dug for us by letting a $9 BILLION organization leave the state. Revenue!!!! Tourism!!!! Out of state money coming INTO Minnesota!!!! Hello????

  • GSheep

    Maybe they should just follow the current law and let the citizens vote on it. I don’t understand why lawmakers can’t let the people have a say in how their money is being spent. Esspecially extra money for frivilous stuff like this.

    • Jim

      Because we live in a Republic, not a Democracy. In a Democracy we would vote on every issue, big or small, and wouldn’t have time for anything else. We wouldn’t need a government because we would all be the government. In a Republic, we elect people to make these decisions for us so we can go to work doing other things, like paving streets and making donuts and fighting fires and trading equities. I’m pretty sure they went over this in sixth grade civics class.

      • Sixth grade civics, holy molly don't remember that one!!

        Jim, this is something that goes above and beyond your normal so called elected official should even be taking up. This is for a private billionaire to get money to pay for “his” football stadium. I agree that we should not be allowed to vote on everything that comes up in government but that is why we have elections so we can vote those idiots out. When it comes to something like this when a team already has a viable stadium to use but wants a new fancy one but at our expense then we the people should be allowed to say whether or not we want to pay for it regardless of who or what is in office especially when those so called elected officials can’t make up their minds on what to do.

        • Good Ol Boy

          “This is for a private billionaire to get money to pay for “his” football stadium.”


          Do you even know what you’re talking about? The answer is a resounding “NO.”

  • If you let the people vote they will come!!!

    GSheep, that is a great idea, I agree let the people that would be footing the bill vote on it. If they only want the tax to be done in that county then let them vote on it only in that county not the entire state. If it is a state wide tax increase then let the entire state do it. Greenbay did that, they let the people of Brown county vote on whether they wanted to foot the bill for the renovations and of course they did like 78% of them. That’s the difference between Viking fans and Packer fans we love our team through thick and thin. LOL Just had to take that jab sorry Viking fans, it’s all about fun. :) If you vote in the county they will come…..

  • Why not let the people vote!!

    I agree let the people that would be footing the bill vote on it. If they only want the tax to be done in that county then let them vote on it only in that county not the entire state. If it is a state wide tax increase then let the entire state do it. Greenbay did that, they let the people of Brown county vote on whether they wanted to foot the bill for the renovations and of course they did like 78% of them. That’s the difference between Viking fans and Packer fans we love our team through thick and thin. LOL Just had to take that jab sorry Viking fans, it’s all about fun. :) If you vote in the county they will come…..

    • Opps I said it agian

      Ok this was sort of a duplicate, CCO was having issues I guess

  • BILL


  • footballisgay

    No welfare for Wilf.

    • Good Ol Boy

      Ziggy Wilf would not receive a dime. You sir, are an idiot.

    • Wore

      Hush your mouth

  • Not a Fan

    Get rid of the Vikings!

    • Wore

      And hush your mouth, too.

  • Ven

    Good for St.Paul – actually standing on principles. Regardless of how bad the deal is – and it is so one-sided I can’t see how Zigs just didn’t die laughing during the press conference – think about what this says:
    We have a ton of social issues, we have a huge gap in the state budget, we say we don’t want taxes raised to pay for anything …BUT, we can ‘find’ a $1B to pay a Billionaire to let his team play here, and then keep paying him in revenues for the next 30 years while our local economy/services/education etc continue to dwindle. Entertainment more important than any other Priority/Need/Want. Trust me, if Zig has the guts to leave, let him leave. Then MN can create a truly state-owned asset of a team and run/manage it as such. Retain the name ‘vikes’ at best, and look for a local owner that may actually care about the community in which his/her team plays.

    • BILL


      • Ven

        Lot of assumptions here BILL:
        1. That Zig would be required to pay property taxes on them – many times these are reduced or a provision is included that allows them to pay only a certain portion based on other revenues.
        2. The wording of the contract mentioned that the Council would technically operate the facility – this means Zigs/Vikes could not be responsible for taxes as owners.
        3. I agree about schools/education – don’t just throw money down the same rabbit hole, but innovate education.

    • Good Ol Boy

      “we can ‘find’ a $1B to pay a Billionaire to let his team play here”

      False, that isn’t what’s happening.

      You’re ignorant of reality. Insert shocked face here.

  • Jessica

    VIKINGS we love you and know you will stay in MN

  • Bryan

    How do they figure this won’t help St.Paul? How many laid off construction workers live in St.Paul or unemployed citizens? I’m a Viking fan I want them to stay, and I have friends and reletives in different construction trades that could use the work. Make it work STATE LEADERS!!

    • tom

      they will just hire illegals at sub par wages

      • Good Ol Boy

        “they will just hire illegals at sub par wages”

        tom, any consideration given to stop commenting on subjects you don’t have the first clue about? Just a thought. I’m trying to help you here…

  • How stuff works

    The jobs last for 2-3 years. The taxes last forever. What’s to not understand?

    • BOB


      • Warren

        If the local people don’t spend the money on the Vikings they would more than likely spend it on something local. The money doesn’t go anywhere. The only significant money the Vikings bring in is from the TV contract. The state’s portion fron the tax on that wouldn’t even build a replacement for Midway stadium.

  • How positive thinking works

    300 million dollars of this project going into consruction wages that will be incomed taxed by the state…..sounds positive to me. What’s to not understand?

    • Okay mister positive thinking

      Whoa, if all of that $300 million is to be earmarked for construction workers, who’s going to pay for all the building material and all the other components of the stadium?

      I don’t understand that. Do you?

  • Jack

    I think they will either have new stadium at the Farmers Market site in Mpls or at Farmer’s Field in LA

  • Bill

    How about the Mystic Lake Vikings ?? Let’s have the Native Americans fund the stadium and partner with Ziggy. The Vikes are still in MN but are no longer the states responsibility since there is apparently no profit in a sports team like everyone says…how would you feel about this?

  • Jack

    would they still be in Minn? are not the indian tribes considered sovergin nations? Also not sure the name change would go over well with the fans

  • jan

    Tax money is to be used for the common good, not for frills. Entertainment money will be spent oh other things if the vikings leave. Call their bluff and quit brown=nosing the sports royalty.

    • Good Ol Boy


      Uneducated comment. Your opinion has been dismissed as irrelevant.

  • larrythecableguy

    How about if we make a deal with the vikes. If they can win a superbowl, we build them a stadium. Everyone wins.

    • jack

      it took us 15 years after the Twins won the 91 series before we built one for them

  • larrythecableguy


  • Gary

    What about the 258+ people that eventually be displaced that live in the area of that property. Many of them are retired and have fought to keep their homes. If the Vikes play like they did last year, let them go.

  • RIII

    If the Vikings leave what will all the people with low IQ’s do with their time?

    • tom

      selling crack on the street

    • Abby

      I cannot stop laughing!!

  • Tom

    BYE BYE ZIGGY, you pay for your own sstadium, or, have the NFL pay for it, why should the citizens have to pay something for your BUSINESS. The taxpayers won’t pay anything for mine.

    • Good Ol Boy

      “BYE BYE ZIGGY, you pay for your own sstadium”

      Uhh, Ziggy isn’t even asking for a stadium. The state of MN is the one who will have a stadium. Ziggy Wilf will not be an owner. 0% share, people.

      GET A CLUE

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