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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.
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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.

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Ramsey County leaders propose food, beverage tax to fund stadium

Ramsey County commissioners Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega have proposed a county-wide three-percent food and beverage tax to help fund a Vikings' stadium in Arden Hills. The tax would raise $24-million/year.

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Commissioners voted 4-3 to pitch what's called a "request for qualifications," which will allow the county to approve possible partners and simplify the formal bidding process, which would come later. Those who voted for the action say it will show the team that Ramsey County is an eager partner, but detractors say the team should be in charge of finding architects itself.

Ramsey drops plan for countywide stadium tax, proposes user fees

Ramsey County leaders are reportedly sending a new proposal to Gov. Dayton and key lawmakers on Friday. Minnesota Public Radio says the plan would drop a countywide tax in favor of a host of new revenue streams including parking fees, admission surcharges and naming rights, among others.

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As proposals for a new Vikings stadium land on the governor's desk, Minneapolis seems to have momentum and Shakopee is a late entry. But Ramsey County still believes it has the right combination to win the stadium site derby.

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Ramsey County officials are looking at new options to build a Vikings stadium. Among those options are taxes on hotels and liquor. The move comes as the team agrees to sit down again with Minneapolis officials. The Vikings say they'll work with Minneapolis to narrow down the options in that city to one site.

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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."

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Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak says building a new stadium on the site of the Metrodome would be more than $200 million cheaper than building one in Arden Hills. Vikings officials doubt that figure. But Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett worries lawmakers are no longer open-minded about where to locate a stadium.