January 11, 2006
Enough slacking off!
OK people. Enough slacking off. Enough with the excuses. I've got some things to say, and gosh darn it I'm going to say them.
As many of you probably know, T-Paw, Hennepin County, and the Twins are going to meet this morning to discuss the possibility of a new stadium bill for the 2006 session that extends the Hennepin County plan. I am confident that T-Paw will say all the right things, but I wonder if Bell is going to put up with the same old rhetoric. There are three things that could happen in this meeting: 1) T-Paw could convince the Twins that he is going to really back a plan and everyone leaves happy, 2) T-Paw could do an adequate job of convincing the Twins he will go to bat for them, the meeting will break up cordially, but Bell will feel pessimistic at best, or 3) T-Paw talks his talk, Bell says he's heard it all before, and the meeting breaks up with nothing accomplished. Obviously I'm hoping for scenario number 1.
And now to toot my own horn a little bit. I've heard from two different sources deeply involved in the stadium battle that my Voter's Guide is actually having an impact at the state capitol right now. According to my sources, lobbyists are impressed with my work and may even help me finish it off, or suggest places where I am wrong or votes have changed. One of my sources even informed me that lobbyists are "usually paid thousands of dollars" to do what I have done. My next question should have been, "Where is my money then?" but I usually think of the right thing to say well after the conversation has ended. Shoot!
So, my plea for all of you is to make sure that I have the right stance down for your representative. I have been informed that more and more representatives will now be seeing the Voter's Guide and that maybe even the governor himself may be shown my work to prove that the votes are actually there to get a stadium bill passed in this god-forsaken state.
I gotta admit that I have always wanted this site to have an impact. I started the Greet Machine because I was upset with the level of commentary and news concerning the stadium issue, and I wanted to maybe change a few minds, or educate the public with my unique form of propaganda. To hear now that the Voter's Guide is actually making the rounds in the hallowed halls of the capitol is extremely gratifying. If a stadium is ever built, I'd like to think that I have done my part, no matter how small that part may be.
From another one of my sources I have heard some interesting reasons why the Hennepin County plan does not include user fees. Check this out:
Hennepin County has always advocated for using tax-exempt bonds to finance the public's share of the ballpark's cost. Tax-exempt bonds carry a lower interest than taxable bonds and that keeps the public's cost down. (Similar to a homeowner wanting to find the lowest possible mortgage rate).
To make the public's bonds tax-exempt, the IRS requires that the taxes used are unrelated to revenue streams connected to the team, the facility, or events at the facility. That means the ever popular 'user-fees' (ticket taxes, parking surcharges, etc.) don't work if the public entity wants to use tax-exempt debt. That's also why the revenue streams are directed to the team. If the County directly benefitted from the team's activities the public bond issue could not be tax-exempt.
Interesting, no? So there you have it. While some of you still may feel that user fees are more important that a tax exempt status on the bonds, the County's stance is that they will save money in the long run by striving for this tax exempt status.
Of course, there are other reasons why user fees are not a very good source of revenue, and I've written about those reasons before.
Finally, I must admit that my new contacts in the stadium games are pessimistic that a bill will be voted on by the legislature this session. One source puts the chances at 70-30 against. Of course, it has also been pointed out to me that 30% is an all-star MLB batter so we shouldn't give up hope yet. We'll see how the meeting goes today.
Posted by snackeru at January 11, 2006 8:18 AM | Stadiums
Now that's some serious Greet Machine. kudos
Posted by: Vince at January 11, 2006 11:29 AM
Hey, that Voter's Guide is great. I had no idea my rep was sponsor of a bill to use public money to provide welfare to a bunch of million-/billion-aires. I will write him posthaste to tell him just what I think. Cool.
Posted by: Gary Fouty at January 11, 2006 3:49 PM
When the stadium gets named "Nackerud Field" after all the work that you did, I'll be able to say that I was there in the beginning.
Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at January 11, 2006 3:49 PM
Great guide, Mr. Nackerud! Now I know who deserves flaming bags of poo on their doorstep!
Posted by: J. Bell at January 11, 2006 4:23 PM
Gary, Gary, Gary ... you disappoint me. As a Hennepin County resident (someone who will actually pay for this) I will be sure to write your representative to thank him for his stance!
Posted by: Shane at January 12, 2006 8:42 AM