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Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Resolution Opposing Stadium Sales Tax

One of the agenda items at last night's city council meeting was a resolution regarding the proposed Ramsey County sales tax for funding a Vikings stadium on the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site in Arden Hills.

At our previous council meeting, I had a council presentation on the topic of the stadium and the Stillwater Bridge, as examples of two issues that were not matters over which the council had any control, but which had significant impact on the residents and businesses of Maplewood. For that reason, I suggested that we should consider taking official positions on these matters.

As it happens, just a couple of days later the Mayor and City Council President of Saint Paul circulated sample resolutions in opposition to the stadium sales tax to the mayors and councils of Ramsey County suburbs. A few days later, one of the county commissioners promoting the tax circulated another sample resolution in favor of the plan for stadium funding.

So last night we considered both resolutions. In advance of the meeting I had revised the Saint Paul-supplied resolution, to add a couple things I thought were important and to make it specific to Maplewood. My revised resolution passed unanimously.

The text of the resolution is as follows:

Resolution opposing the imposition of a ½ cent sales tax in Ramsey County for the construction of a Vikings Stadium in Arden Hills

WHEREAS, the Maplewood City Council recognizes the social and economic value of the Minnesota Vikings Football team to the State of Minnesota; and,

WHEREAS, to preserve the Minnesota Vikings as a valuable State amenity, the Maplewood City Council understands the desire to find a solution to the Vikings’ stated interest in developing a new stadium; and,

WHEREAS, a proposal has been put forth by the Minnesota Vikings and the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners to construct a new stadium in Arden Hills on the site of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunitions Plant (TCAAP); and,

WHEREAS, to finance the construction of this facility, the Ramsey County Board has proposed the imposition of a ½ cent sales tax collected in Ramsey County in an amount sufficient to generate $350 million; and,

WHEREAS, it has been proposed that the taxpayers of Ramsey County be denied the right to vote for or against a stadium-funding sales tax increase in a referendum; and,

WHEREAS, Maplewood retailers face competition from nearby counties that would have lower sales tax rates if this stadium tax were approved, as well as internet retailers who often do not collect sales taxes at all; and,

WHEREAS, a higher local sales tax rate may make Maplewood commercial properties less attractive than those in neighboring counties, potentially hurting property values in an already difficult real estate market and increasing the relative tax burden on residential properties; and,

WHEREAS, the City of Maplewood, even while losing all Market Value Homestead Credit payments from the State of Minnesota, has sought both to minimize the growth of taxes on our residents and to maintain the funding of basic municipal functions; and,

WHEREAS, it is unfair and inequitable for the residents and businesses of Maplewood to be asked to bear a disproportionate financial burden for the construction of a State-wide and region-wide amenity, particularly when the benefit to taxpayers is tangential at best;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Maplewood City Council opposes the imposition of a ½ cent sales tax in Ramsey County to support the construction of a Vikings stadium in Arden Hills; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Maplewood City Council encourages the Governor, the Legislature, the Ramsey County Board, the Minnesota Vikings and other interested parties to consider options for constructing a stadium that minimize risk to the taxpayers, limit the level of public subsidy (particularly for the host community), and promote a fair, multi-jurisdictional participation for a State-wide amenity.


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