Ramsey official says charter may still be an obstacle in stadium deal

Ramsey County Charter Commissioner Peter Hendricks says state law requires voters approve local sales taxes, even though he voted against changing local law to require a referendum. He says if legislators make an exception to that rule it will likely lead to a court battle.
Author:
Publish date:

A Ramsey County Charter Commission member who helped shoot down a public vote on a new stadium tax urges state leaders to allow the public to weigh in on the matter.

In a letter to Governor Mark Dayton, legislators and stadium officials, Peter Hendricks says state elected leaders should not make an exception to a state law that requires voter approval for local sales tax. He points to the vote to waive the voter requirement in Hennepin County during the deal to solidify funding for the Twins’ Target Field construction as a possible precedent for the proposed financing deal for a Vikings stadium in Arden Hills.

Hendricks was among the majority on the charter commission to vote Tuesday against changing Ramsey County rules. The change would require a public vote for a half-cent sales tax needed to make the deal come together.

In his letter he says his vote should not be taken as tacit support for the Vikings or a tax increase. Instead he says it comes from his understanding of the law and the role of Government.

“Personally, I oppose the Principles of Agreement” from May between the Vikings and Ramsey County, Hendricks writes. The agreement calls for the county to pitch in to help cover the costs of the $1 billion dollar stadium on the former ammunition manufacturing grounds.

He goes on to remind state leaders that Ramsey County voters can still hold a referendum on the tax if people submit a petition with the required number of valid signatures. He says if legislators then make a calculated political decision to bypass the referendum requirement, then--in his words--’it should come as no surprise many voters will be disappointed’ in their lack of leadership. He also predicts lawsuits will erupt over the decision and the stadium deal will be decided by the courts.

View Charter Commissioner Peter Hendricks letter:


Ramsey County Charter and Vikings

Next Up

Related

Little known Ramsey panel is the mouse that roars in Vikings stadium debate

The relatively obscure Ramsey County Charter Commission has become a key cog in the Vikings' quest for a stadium in Arden Hills. By giving voice to public opposition to a sales tax to fund the stadium, the charter commission is inserting itself into a high-stakes political power struggle. Some elected leaders might find themselves in the position of stifling a public vote or risk losing the Vikings.

Ramsey officials pitch new stadium tax idea

Ramsey County Commissioners Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega have requested a meeting with state lawmakers to discuss a new Vikings stadium proposal, which would include a countywide 3 percent food, beverage and liquor tax.

Ramsey County backed into corner in fight for Vikings stadium

Arden Hills in Ramsey County is the Vikings' preferred site for a new stadium, but finding ways to fund their portion of the $1.1 billion plan is no longer on their shoulders. Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett says "We've jumped every friggin' hoop there is in town."

Ramsey County petitions to block public funding for stadium

Ramsey County leaders hope to collect 15,000 signatures to force a referendum vote in November on whether to publicly fund a proposed Arden Hills stadium. The ad hoc group says the effort is in response to elected officials ignoring their constituents and kowtowing to Vikings ownership.

Dayton: Vikings stadium deal may not happen until next week, if at all

Governor Mark Dayton won't use the word "optimistic," but he says he's "hopeful" that a Vikings stadium deal gets done soon. But an hour long meeting on Tuesday ended with Dayton saying a deal may not be finalized until next week, if at all. However, Dayton and Vikings' owner Zygi Wilf agree that the "number of issues that remain are limited, and can be overcome if all the parties are willing.”