May 5, 2004
Why is it that I always get the busiest when something important happens with stadium legislation? Sorry for the lack of posts everyone. I've been absolutely swamped with a combination of work, second job, and Cub Scouts. Anyway, the bill yesterday ... I've had some time to think about it and I don't think all hope is lost. Here is what I took away from what I've read (StarTrib and Pioneer Press)
- Now the bill has a referendum attached. This is a deal killer as far as I'm concerned. I know St. Paul is about 50-50 with regards to actually passing a stadium referendum, but I just don't think it will happen. Hopefully I'm wrong.
- There is now a Gopher's stadium attached. This was an amendment authored by Abrams of all people and stipulates that if the U can raise $133 million then the state will pick up the rest. If Rep. Kahn's bill to secure community ownership of the Twins actually passes in some future session, can we then expect some love from the legislature towards a Twins stadium?
- An addendum that did not pass was to extend the 6.5% liquor tax metro wide to pay for the stadium. This is the way to do it folks. I fully expect this amendment to come back into play in the Ways and Means committee (where the bill heads next). It was only defeated by a 15-13 margin, so I think it would have a shot of being attached either in the next committee or on the House floor. It is a tax people are paying right now anyway (so no one feels a thing) and it takes away the need for any new sales tax in the host community or a referendum. Oh please, someone get on board with this idea and make it work!
- The vote yesterday was completely rural vs. urban. All the rural reps. on the Taxes committee voted for the plan and all the urban reps. voted no. Why? Because the rural reps. had nothing to lose. Their constituents don't have to pay a dime. I can understand why some urban reps. have a big problem with this.
- The Vikings are already complaining that this won't work. This brings up some good news coming from Charley Walters that says Glen Taylor is really looking into purchasing the Vikings.
- Finally, a part of the bill says that no money will be spent until the Twins are on TV. This is not going to have an impact on this season since no money would be spent until the fall anyway. So, don't get your hopes up!
That's all for now. My conclusion is I'm glad this bill passed the Taxes committee, but it still needs some work to have a chance at actually resulting in a Twins stadium being built. We'll see what happens next.
UPDATE: The stadium bill has already passed the first hurdle in the Senate, the State and Local Government Operations Committee, according to the Twins website.
Posted by snackeru at May 5, 2004 4:33 PM | Stadiums
I just heard that the stadium bill did not get through House Ways and Means. It was a tie vote so it failed. More Iron Range reps were supposed to vote for it, but I heard that Pawlenty could not guarentee them enough "pork" in the bonding bills. There is a chance that it can be reconsidered Tuesday, but with time running out in the session, this is definitely a setback.
-Jim in St. Paul
Posted by: Jim in St. Paul at May 7, 2004 3:06 PM