SBD/May 26, 2011/Facilities

St. Paul Mayor Offers Alcohol Drink Tax As Solution For Minnesota Stadium Issues

Vikings would play in new stadium in Minneapolis under Coleman's plan
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman yesterday put forward a proposal that "would address Minnesota's stadium dilemma with a new statewide tax of 2 cents per alcoholic drink while keeping the Vikings in Minneapolis and moving" the T'Wolves to St. Paul, according to Olson & Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Coleman said that his plan "would raise $48 million a year for sports facilities." He added that the Vikings' plan to move to Ramsey County "doesn't make sense; his plan would not move the team but send" the T'Wolves and WNBA Lynx to St. Paul to "share the Xcel Energy Center with the Wild." The Target Center in downtown Minneapolis would then "become a practice facility." Coleman also would "use the per-drink tax at bars and restaurants to build" a ballpark for the independent St. Paul Saints and "upgrade recreation facilities throughout the state." Olson & Kaszuba note Coleman's proposal "would forgive a $32.5 million state loan to St. Paul for the Xcel construction while paying for $75 million in renovations." The drink tax also "could buy Minneapolis out of the remaining $75 million debt on Target Center." However, the T'Wolves and Vikings called "some of" the plan "too late and unacceptable." Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley: "We're going to Arden Hills" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/26). In St. Paul, Dave Orrick notes "additional sources of funding" beyond the drink tax "would include an additional 0.25 percent St. Paul sales tax and an extension of Minneapolis' downtown sales taxes to the rest of the city" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/26).
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