No sales tax for Dayton, Zellers against special session

by Kevin Burbach

The nonstop political process to build a new Vikings stadium took another twist Tuesday as Gov. Mark Dayton announced at a press conference that there was not enough legislative support for a half-cent sales tax hike on Ramsey County, MPR reports.

Stadium supporters must now find another way to finance the estimated $350 million that would’ve come from sales tax increase.

Just hours after Dayton held his press conference, GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers sent an email to legislative Republicans informing them he would not support a special session in November, according to an email obtained by MPR.

According to the email, Zellers said the stadium issue can be addressed in the regular session when it reconvenes Jan. 24, 2012.

Zellers counterpart in the Legislature, Senate Majority Leader Any Koch, wasn’t as strongly opposed, according to the Strib.

Koch said a special session on the stadium was still possible. 

“I think it could be,” said Koch. “I don’t think we’re there yet. I don’t think we’re ready for one yet – certainly, not today,”

Vikings vice president Lester Bagley spoke after Dayton Tuesday to address the financing issue.

“Arden Hills site has not been eliminated. The sales tax option has been eliminated.”

Bagley suggested other financing options such as state bonding, pull tabs, casino gambling, lottery games and a merchandise tax.

According to MPR, Dayton said allowing bars to have electronic pull tabs seems to have the most support in the Legislature.