Governor: No to Sales Tax

The Vikings' proposed stadium plan took a severe blow Monday when Gov. Tim Pawlenty said that nobody -- from the counties involved to residents to himself -- would support the Vikings' proposal of a seven-county metro sales tax to help pay a portion of the stadium costs.

The Vikings' plan for a new stadium funding plan got shot down before it even get off the ground Monday, as Gov. Tim Pawlenty said the plan "isn't going to fly."

The proposal, which would call for a seven-county metro sales to help pay for a $900 million stadium with a retractable roof, came under fire from Pawlenty – who spoke to reporters following a community event in St. Paul.

Said Pawlenty: "The counties aren't going to support it. The people in the metro region aren't going to support it. I'm not going to support it."

In short, it would seem the governor is indicating the project won't have much support.

Pawlenty also said that the Vikings are "in a real pickle" now that they no longer have an agreement with Anoka County to construct a domed stadium approximately 15 miles north of the current Metrodome site. Anoka County, which had enthusiastically encouraged building a stadium in the northern suburbs, had pledged the raise about one-third of the proposed $700 million for a domed stadium. But, after the Vikings began exploring options for a downtown location, the talks between the team and Anoka County got contentious. Stadium officials from the county claimed the Vikings were in violation of an exclusive-rights negotiating agreement and gave the team an ultimatum to stay at the table. When the Vikings continued to explore a downtown option, Anoka County pulled its $250 million in funding off the table.

With just four years left on the Vikings' current Metrodome lease, it is believed by some that the team would have to get its own stadium deal done this year or 2008 at the latest to be completed in time for a 2011 opening. The current tepid response from legislators can't be viewed as a positive sign. Whether the Vikings can mend fences with Anoka County is uncertain, but it seems clear that, barring an overhaul of their plans for funding a downtown stadium, the Vikings may be on their own when it comes to devising a plan to pay for a new stadium.

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