Referendum Talk For Vikings Stadium Heats Up

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — One of the hot topics at the Minnesota State Fair and all over the state is the future of the Vikings and where they will play after this season.

The team’s lease at the Metrodome is up at the end of this season, and despite talk of a new stadium in Arden Hills and a special session at the legislature, so far that’s still just talk.

Governor Mark Dayton said Monday he would support a referendum that would allow Ramsey County Voters to decide on a sales tax increase. Supporters of the Arden Hills site worry that if the half cent sales tax was put before Ramsey County voters, it wouldn’t pass.

Speaking after appearing at the St. Paul Rotary Club on Tuesday, Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf said a referendum wouldn’t be fair because the Twins stadium sales tax didn’t go to a referendum. And a key supporter of the Arden Hills site said a referendum would doom the project.

“Anything you put on a vote would not pass right now, not even a library,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett.

Wilf said the $1 billion dollar stadium would bring thousands of jobs with it, and it’s what Vikings fans deserve.

“This is an important time for both Minnesota and the Minnesota Vikings,” said Wilf, who also said the Arden Hills site was a “perfect site” for the stadium.

About $300 million dollars of the cost would come from Ramsey County. The current proposal calls for half percent sales tax increase to raise the money. And Wilf said because the Twins sales tax didn’t go to a taxpayer vote, neither should this one.

“We would just like to be on the same playing field as the Twins,” said Wilf.

As for what happens if there is no stadium deal by the end of the Vikings season, Wilf said he just won’t go there.

“We have a plan A and that is what we are working very hard to accomplish,” he said.

Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said Tuesday that Governor Dayton was going to clarify his statements on the referendum. A spokesperson for Dayton said Tuesday any decision on a referendum for a stadium would be a local decision. The spokesperson also said Dayton would not call for a referendum, but is not opposing one.

Dayton has ordered the Met Council and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission to review the Arden Hills site and stadium plan.

More from Esme Murphy
  • The Crux of the Buscuit

    Why wouldn’t Ramsey county voters vote to give Zigy Wilf and the Vikings a billion dollars or so? Don’t they know Zigy is rich and is a job creator? They should be lining up and grabbing their ankles shouldn’t they? Stupid Ramsey County voters, they just don’t know whats good for themselves……

  • The Crux of the Buscuit

    ” and it’s what Vikings fans deserve.”

    Let the season ticket holders pay for the stadium then……

  • me

    Oh HE!! NO! … NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

  • travis

    i’m so sick of reading people’s comments about this story. Build it already. We all know that a stadium contributes millions of dollars to the state of MN. Without that money, how would the state replace that revenue. Its such a simple minded belief that your money pays for a millionaire’s stadium… and you see no benefit.

    • Guy

      Tell you what – YOU pay for the whole thing & you can have ALL of the benes. Fair deal? Leave me out of it.

      • Andrew

        The only way you do not benefit from a stadium being built here is if you move out of the state. I suggest you go to Canada please.

    • wallace

      You have to spend money to make money.

      • Jake

        Spend your own money.

  • A Voter

    But the Twins got away with it.
    Let the People decide, Zigy needs to learn that two wrongs don’t make a right.

  • pretzeldude

    Zigy, You got the money and you own a pro football team. Build you own damn stadium like Joe Robbie original owner of the Miami Dolphins did.

  • Jake

    It is STATE LAW to have a REFERENDUM for ANY public financing for a stadium, PERIOD. The Pohlads scammed Henn. Co. residents, so now the Wilfs think that they can do the same. Don’t let them get away with it. The twinkies won’t be a contender for YEARS, due to the M&M contracts. The NFL REFUSES to pitch in, don’t get sucked into a sucker play like Cincinatti did with their ‘new’ stadium.

  • opinion

    the stadium is a building being built to support a private business. last time i checked when best buy, target, 3m, etc build their new buildings we did not pay for it. it is a private business they can pay for it themselves just like everyone else. they have sports fans on the hook with their product. additionally, if these stadiums are such money generators why is is being built for a football team that will only occupy it approximately 8 times per year? I love football but im not interested in buying their stadium

    • Andrew

      How many event does the Metrodome host every year? A couple more than 8 and all of those are unrelated to Zigi Wolf who is going to let all of that happen is the new Stadium.

  • james

    Let them leave becouse they siuck or let the over paid playes pay for the new stadium tav payers should not have to front the bill we dont have any mony for schools but we have the money for a new stadium is some body smoking something???

  • frozenrunner

    “We would just like to be on the same playing field as the Twins,” said Wilf.
    Doesn’t Wilf know that Target Field was not designed for football?

    An interesting argument for not building a stadium at a site that is also counting down the days until the end of Obama’s first term.

    • frozenrunner

      In case you can’t hit a link
      For one thing, Zimbalist says, the money that will be spent on the events held at the new sports arena or stadium is money spent by local residents. This is not new money but money that would simply have been spent on other entertainment in the metropolitan area if the stadium didn’t exist.

      Secondly, the big money that goes to players, owners and investors does not stay in the area but is invested elsewhere.

      Third, the city or state is often chipping in up to a third of the continuing costs and this is tax money wasted, not revenue made.

      The third point is most important to dwell upon in this time of one of the worst economies in 70 years. “’… in the typical case,’ Zimbalist says, ‘the city and/or state contributes roughly two-thirds of the financing for the facility’s construction and takes on obligations for additional expenditures over time.’”

      There are other problems with these projects, as well. For one thing, the jobs created are for the most part low paid, part time and offer no benefits. Because of this “jobs” are not really created by a sports complex.

  • bob

    ” Zygi Wilf said a referendum wouldn’t be fair because the Twins stadium sales tax didn’t go to a referendum”

    “Waaa-waaa-waaa, they’re not playing fair with me”, says Ziggy.

    How sad for you, Ziggy.

    • bob

      Stadiums are NOT money-makers. Otherwise, Ziggy would build it.

      If you want a stadium don’t hide behind false claims and warped economics. Just say you want a stadium and everyone will just have to pay through the nose for it. Let’s all drop the false pretense, shall we?

  • Win Vikes!

    I’ll be the only one positive here. Build it. Let’s get it done. I’ll be perfectly fine with paying an extra half-cent in sales tax if it gets the Vikes a new stadium. I buy many things in Hennepin County, too, and am just fine with paying the extra sales tax for the Twins stadium. It’s such a beautiful stadium and I enjoy it, thoroughly.

    • tr

      So the sales tax rate slowly creeps up from nothing, to 2%, 3%, 4%, 5%, 6%, 7%, 8% . . .

      Where will it all end?

      Doesn’t it even bother you that for Every dollar item you buy, you fork over 8 pennies to the government – for taxes?

  • Jon

    Everyone complains about paying the tax increase so lets say the vikings leave, guess what the complaint after that will be why don’t we have a football team. Just build the stadium then guess what we are set for years to come. People act like things come free in this world. Its a business that needs the support of the state its in if they don’t have that you mine as well say bye to the Vikings.

  • quad

    I’m tired.

    maybe it’s just time for the vikings to leave

  • Die hard purple fan

    Minnesota will always be a soccer state anyway, too soft for football.

  • jack

    so it comes down to Farmer Field in LA or Farmers Market in Mpls as the future home of the Vikings

  • JOHN

    how long have we been hearing or reading about this issue that no one wants to deal with enough already..the political parties and leadership does not want to deal with it like saying no and let the vote about them for re election will show it. And in this deal if done what will Wilf have in developing the area around it ?

  • Go Vikings! - anywhere but MN

    So Wilf and the politicians in his pocket don’t want a referendum because they know it will fail? What does this tell you about using taxpayer money to build a new stadium?

    Wilf needs to pay for this himself instead of fleecing the taxpayers.

  • Anonymous

    Everyone crying about Wilf not coughing up dough should realize he’s willing to make the 2nd largest private investment for a new stadium in NFL HISTORY.

    It’s NOT that easy to just “HURR DURR PAY FOR IT YOURSELF HURRRR”

    I am a taxpayer and I will gladly pay for a new stadium.

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