Previously, St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman had said nothing about the deal that would put the new Vikings stadium in his county — and that would subject his city to a one-half percent sales tax aimed at covering the county’s portion of the total financial package. His silence spoke volumes.
Now, Coleman has said something other than nothing, and he apparently wants nothing to do with a proposal that imposes a significant burden on the county that has the privilege of hosting the building in which the Vikings’ home games will be played. Thou he has yet to take an official position, he called the imposition of a sales tax by Ramsey County an “unfair burden,” according to Rochelle Olson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
“People in Virginia [Minnesota] watch the Vikings on TV. People in Mankato are eating buffalo wings and drinking beer on Sunday [and watching the games],” Coleman said.
Still, Coleman favors the concept of building a stadium. “I start with the premise the Vikings are an important asset. We’ve got to find a way to keep them here,” Coleman said.
Coleman said he won’t take an official position on the proposal until he has more time to study it. “I need to know those numbers,” Coleman said. “What are they asking the residents and the people shopping in St. Paul to pay? What are the benefits of the Arden Hills site to St. Paul? . . . The fact that it’s not in Minneapolis is not a reason to support something in Ramsey County.”
Coleman prefers a statewide one-cent or two-cent tax on beer and liquor sales to fund the project.
Though Coleman has no direct power over the question of whether the Legislature will or won’t pass a bill imposing the sales tax in Ramsey County, Coleman’s position would give extra ammunition to the opponents of the move, and possibly nudge some fence-sitters toward not supporting the project.