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May 10, 2005

Big day today

I couldn't sleep last night due to the fact that I read this article in the Strib before I went to bed. According to the article:

The plan for financing a new Twins ballpark faces significant opposition in the House of Representatives, according to a Star Tribune survey of legislators.

With more than three-fourths of House members responding, 42 said they favored a deal that would raise the sales tax in Hennepin County. Thirty-six opposed it, and 27 members said they were undecided. The proposal needs 68 votes to pass the 134-member House.

Ugh. That is disheartening. Let's try to look at it another way, though. There are 134 members in the House. 42 have come out in favor of the plan, 36 are opposed, and 27 are undecided. OK. That leaves 29 legislators unaccounted for. Add that 29 to the 27 that are undecided, and you get 56 legislators that we still don't know about. The bill needs 68 votes to pass which means we need 26 more "yes" votes, or roughly half of the 56 legislators that still are up in the air. Is that possible? Can Finstad (the chief author of the bill) muster up 26 more votes out of 56? I certainly hope so. In fact, I still think he can.

And, unless you live under a rock, you probably know that the stadium bill will be heard today by the Governmental Operations and Veterans Affairs Committee beginning at 4:30 this afternoon. This is the second step for this bill, and our first indications of whether or not 1) it has even a small modicum of support and 2) if it can make it out of committees without a referendum.

I am guessing that two big things will happen with this bill during committee meetings. The first is every committee that hears it will try to attach a referendum to the bill. I have no doubt of that. I also expect some legislators will try to attach another tax onto the .15% general sales tax, or even increase the tax to be something like 6 cents on every $20 purchase in order to fund education, or police, or health care also. I can't say how I feel about that. I personally hope that the bill makes it through this committee unscathed and "as is" but I would be surprised if something doesn't happen to it. We'll just have to keep our fingers crossed.

I'll be watching and taping the proceedings so I should have a good sense of what kinds of hurdles the bill will have to overcome next (if it even makes it through Governmental Operations!). What a nerve racking day!

Finally, and I think this is just hilarious, Rep. Anne Lenczewski has submitted a bill to rename the Minnesota Twins to the Hennepin County Twins. Sigh. Can we just solve this problem and move on?

Posted by snackeru at May 10, 2005 12:43 PM | Stadiums


Why not the St. Louis Park Twins?

Posted by: SBG at May 10, 2005 2:03 PM

Yeah, we can demolish Aquila school and those skanky apartment buildings and use that land! Brilliant!

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at May 10, 2005 3:33 PM

Actually, CC, I was thinking we could put it on that stupid golf course behind our houses. I'll never use that golf course, that must mean it is unimportant. There certainly is enough space!

Posted by: Shane at May 10, 2005 3:36 PM

There are some stadium proponents on the Local Government committee, including the Vice-Chair Morrie Lanning and Paul Marquart. Both of these legislators were co-sponsors of the first Twins bill a couple of weeks back. It is also interesting that both of them are from Northwest Minnesota. Perhaps this area (located a solid four drive from Hennepin County) realize the economic and cultural worth of the Twins more than the people who actually live in Hennepin County.

I firmly believe that if this bill fails either in the legislature or at a referendum, we can kiss both the Twins and Vikings goodbye. We will never be faced with another tax as insignificant as this one. This is the best bill anyone can ever hope to get. The only thing better would be Pohlad deciding to build the stadium himself, which simply does not occur with that much frequency in today's professional sports market.

If the Twins are contracted and the Vikings move, professional sports fans in the Upper Midwest would then be left with the Wild (who will always come behind both high school and college hockey) and the Timberwolves, a franchise in an increasingly more unpopular sport. Certainly we would have minor league baseball and possibly Arena League Football, but I do not view these as viable alternatives to what we already have. I continue to hope and pray that we do not become a "cold Des Moines."

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at May 10, 2005 4:18 PM

SBG: Why not the Minnesota Twins of St. Louis Park

Posted by: TwinsJunkie at May 11, 2005 5:28 PM

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