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Dayton needs to hold his ground on stadium

October 13, 2011
Marshall Independent

We're glad a Ramsey County panel nixed the idea of a county referendum on a proposed half-cent sales tax hike that would've helped build a stadium in Arden Hills. A referendum surely would've went down in flames and it would've been a waste of both time - which is not on our side - and money - also not on our side.

A boost in taxes in that county is one part of a proposed deal with the state and the Vikings to build a $1 billion stadium at the Arden Hills site, but had it been put to the voters, there was no way a referendum would've been approved.

The Vikings deserve a deal similar to what the Twins got in Hennepin County, plain and simple.

With that said, however, Gov. Mark Dayton needs to hold firm on his stance that no state tax revenue be used to help pay for what he calls a "People's Stadium." There are other ways to generate revenue for such a stadium, such as Racinos, that make much more sense than taxing the entire state, especially in a time when homeowners are already looking at increased property taxes next year.

Dayton has long said he's a supporter of a new stadium, wherever it ends up being built, and we appreciate his continuous pledge to not support a statewide tax increase to help finance it.

On their end, the Vikings need to accept the possibly longer timeline to build a stadium at the Arden Hills site - a site the team has made clear it prefers - and realize they might need to chip in a little more for additional costs of building it there.

We agree that a stadium should be built - not because it would benefit the Vikings and their owner, but because it will help create hundreds of jobs and would keep the team in Minnesota where it belongs. Losing the Vikings would be a huge blow to the state's economy and, to an extent, our culture. Not to mention, it would leave the state red in the face in the eyes of the national media: First the North Stars, now the Vikings?

We in southwest Minnesota don't care where a new stadium is built, as long as it's built and paid for the right and fair way, and we think the county that eventually becomes home to a new stadium should be on the hook to help subsidize it - that's the county that will experience the most economic benefits from a new stadium.

At least Dayton has drawn a line of compromise in the sand that says while the state won't kow-tow to billionaire owners it is willing to work with them. And in this day and age when these rich and powerful owners are continually seeking new stadiums to compete financially while states struggle with deficits, that's an important line to draw.



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