Despite a pathetic Minnesota Twins baseball season, Target Field in Minneapolis where the Twins play has been a major success. Almost all of the home games were sold out and fans continue to rave about the new Target Field.
Hennepin County residents have embraced the new stadium, even though they are helping to pay for it with a .5 percent sales tax.
County commissioners who voted for the sales tax as part of the financial deal were all re-elected.
Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf expects his request for a new Vikings stadium in Arden Hills, with Ramsey County as the taxing host, to be treated the same as the Twins.
The deal that has been put together would have the billion-dollar stadium with a roof paid with $350 million from Ramsey County through a half-cent sales tax, $300 million from the state, and the Vikings footing just under half the cost, or some $407 million.
All of a sudden there is a call for a voter referendum in Ramsey County, which has received the surprise backing of two Republican leaders — Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, the House majority leader, and Sen. Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, the Senate majority leader.
If a referendum were scheduled, people will vote against a tax increase and the deal will fall apart.
Wilf is on solid ground when he asks that the Vikings stadium sales tax proposal be treated the same as the Target Field sales tax, when there was no referendum written in the bill for the Twins.
Make no mistake about it; should the Vikings not get a stadium, they will leave the state. They’ve made it clear that they do not intend to play another season in the Metrodome if a stadium deal is not reached soon.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton needs to take leadership to get this deal done on behalf of most Minnesotans who want the Minnesota Vikings to stay.
If the political snag of having a referendum on the sales tax goes forward, Minnesota will lose the football team. Those who think the Vikings will stay regardless are fooling themselves.
Should the Vikings leave Minnesota, leaders would have to build a stadium to get another team to play in Minnesota. That’s the reality. — Don Heinzman, ECM Publishers