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January 30, 2006

Now that is an interesting plan

• I'll cut right to the chase, someone tell me how this isn't a good plan:

Published estimates are that Pohlad has a net worth of $2.8 billion. Assume conservatively that only half that amount would be subject to the estate tax. If he remained a Minnesota resident, the state would collect 16 percent, or about $224 million. But there would be no such windfall if he moved.

The state, the Twins, and its owner should consider an arrangement whereby the owner would agree to remain a Minnesota resident and expose his estate to a tax of at least the amount of the state contribution to the cost of a new Twins ballpark. The state would then lend that amount to the Hennepin County project. Along with the $125 million the Twins have already pledged, and the expected infrastructure contribution of local government, the state loan would get the job done. The state loan would be fully secured by the expected Pohlad estate tax, from which the loan would be repaid.

Did you understand that? Pohlad will be paying an estate tax anyway when he dies. This gentleman, William Brody, estimates that it will be $224 million. Assuming that Pohlad dies while a Minnesota resident, why don't we take that money and use it to build a new Twins stadium? How does this plan not work? Someone please inform me because I think it is a fantastic plan (if not a little morbid). Combine that $224 million with Pohlad's already agreed contribution of $125 million, and you've got $349 million: the cost of the ballpark itself. That way, much like the Mall of America, the county would only have to pay for infrastructure around the faciltiy.

Any lawyers in the house? Any reason why this wouldn't work? Under this plan you've suddenly got Pohlad paying for well over half of the total cost, which is something a lot of representatives and senators want.

OK. Now for reality. As much as I'd love this plan to work, I would be very surprised if it went anywhere. Why? We are governed by morons, plain and simple. So, I'll let you know if anything comes of this. I will certainly be monitoring the situation.

• Lastly, if you have multiple children like me, you know how sibling rivalries can develop. Well, my family's most outrageous sibling rivalry is between my middle son and my youngest child, my daughter. I say outrageous because it seems that no matter what my daughter says, my son has got to disagree with her. My daughter will say anything, and my son will point out where she is wrong. For example, my daughter will say, "This peanut butter is crunchy," and my son will say, "No, this peanut butter has peanuts in it which makes it less smooth." Or my daughter will say, "The sky is blue," and my son will say, "No, the sky is blue." Do you see what I mean? It drives me nuts.

So, yesterday while going to church, my kids started to talk about the topic of frogs. My daughter, who is only 5, chimes in and says, "Frogs eat bugs with their tongues." And my son says, "No, that is actually a myth that frogs eat bugs with their tongues. Actually, frogs tackle bugs and then eat them." Can you believe this guy? Of course, my wife and I had to correct him, but where does he come up with this stuff? And all so he can disagree with his sister. It is amazing to me.

Posted by snackeru at January 30, 2006 10:32 AM | Life | Stadiums


Sounds like your son is preparing for his future life, which will no doubt include a backyard battle with a neighbor from Wisconsin.

Posted by: SBG at January 30, 2006 11:15 AM

Besides the fact that Carl sold his soul to the Devil and cannot actually die, I think it's a great plan.

Posted by: freealonzo at January 30, 2006 12:13 PM

My plan for dissention amongst the Nackeruds is working perfectly...

Posted by: The Fiendishly Clever Cheesehead Craig at January 30, 2006 1:19 PM

"Show me a kid who doesn't argue with his siblings and I'll show you an only child." My guess is that either you are an only child or have forgotten what you were like when you were a kid.

Posted by: Jeff A at January 30, 2006 1:30 PM

Did your son run a blog called Contrarian Bias? Or Founded on Dissent? You should give your kids blogs, Shane.

As for Pohlad's-estate-tax-for-the-stadium plan, I think it's a *very* shaky notion that we can redirect someone's general taxes for particular purposes. I think this has been proposed in a different form as "player income taxes for stadiums" which is also intriguing, but the central idea that one person or group can make a deal with the government to direct their taxes to specific project beneficial to them is highly dubious, and (although I'm no lawyer) I imagine it would be fraught with legal difficulties.

Posted by: spycake at January 30, 2006 2:40 PM

You answered the question on why this plan would not work. Granted it sounds like a good plan but the sticking point that you mentioned is the county would only have to pay for infrastructure around the faciltiy. Yea right, how many referendums would this require? And isn't this what the Vikings are really asking for, is infrastructure that has already been approved but they want the time table pushed up.

The State of Minnesota wants to retain all the pro franchises and reap the benefits but invest nothing into maintaining the right to keep them.

I think Pohlad should, if he wins the pending court case, just move to Portland or Las Vegas and screw the state!

Posted by: Steve at January 30, 2006 2:55 PM

Thanks for the comments everyone. And no, I am not an only child, although I was the baby of the family. So, maybe I was used to getting my way. I remember arguing with my sister, no doubt, but I don't remember disagreeing with everything she said, even when I knew what she was saying was true. That is what I find so amazing about my younger son and daughter: he disagrees no matter what.

Freealonzo, you have come up with an angle that I didn't consider. Pohlad would probably agree with the plan, and then refuse to die. Or he would fight death until the estate tax is repealed. I could definitely see that happening.

And spycake, thanks for the voice of dissent. Although I can see this setting some sort of precedent, I can't see it being abused. Also, you are again focusing on the benefit to the Pohlad family without thinking about the benefit to the state. Getting a new baseball stadium would be a good thing, and Pohlad would essentially be paying for everything. I will agree, though, that this plan is fraught with all kind of legal difficulties. Another good reason it won't go anywhere.

Steve is right though, the biggest reason it won't happen is because our legislators don't have the guts or brains to make it happen. So why worry about it anymore?

Posted by: Shane at January 30, 2006 4:08 PM

I think you are a genious. Killing off Mr. Burns, and using the tax to fund a majority of a new stadium is a referendum I would like to see come my way. R U up for it Burns? Would that make you happy?

I also secretly hope the Twins leave town, Mpls/St.P doesn't deserve the Twins, and I would relish the opportunity to hear everyone piss and moan about getting a MLB team back here.

Mr. Greet Machine....I was hoping for an ending comparing your kids and Mr. Burns. What was the point? Why am I reading that?

Posted by: Jerry Floyd at January 31, 2006 2:08 AM

If Pohlad is Mr. Burns and there is a relationship between "Mr. Greet Machine" and Pohlad, that would make Mr. Greet Machine Homer Simpson.

Posted by: SBG at January 31, 2006 7:56 AM

Or Lenny! Lenny works at the Nuclear Power plant too, you know.

Sorry to confuse you, Jerry. I write in a kind of stream of consciousness way. Whatever that pops into my head and I find interesting, I write about it.

Posted by: Shane at January 31, 2006 1:32 PM

I forgot to include the word "kids". Comparing Mr. Greet Machine's kids and Mr. Burns...

Posted by: SBG at January 31, 2006 9:01 PM

I am doubtful about the estate tax deal. A lot of Pohlad's assets must be corporations which will long outlive him. And he has more options to escape estate taxes than just moving. The mention of the Binger case is telling. Yes, so far the state has the money, but if Binger's transfer of his assets to his paramour survives a court battle the state will have to refund the money.
I propose we solve this with a subscription plan. People around the state who support the stadium could pledge so much per month for the next thirty years (if over 50 they have to mortgage their first born). That way only the willing pay.

Posted by: Gary Fouty at February 1, 2006 9:53 AM

One way Pohlad could escape paying such a large chunk in estate taxes would be to lessen his net worth. Since he is worth $2.8 billion he would easily get that down to $2 billion by spending $800 million on the EXACT stadium that he wants. Retractable roof. Luxury boxes. Natural surface. Call it Carl Pohlad Park. The whole ball of wax! If he GIVES it to the city, he could probably deduct it from his income tax! Problem is, you can't get blood from a turnip...

Posted by: DouglasG at February 1, 2006 12:32 PM

I think this subscription idea would work. You need about $200M? Assume you bond it in some way over 20 years that is $10M/yr. Surely true fans would pony up $10 per month, or $120/yr. Voila, you only need 83,300 fans! That should be no problem. You could throw in a t-shirt and engrave their name on the outfield wall. This seems fair, democratic, and entirely do-able. Why didn't I think of it sooner? Shane, spread the word.

Posted by: Gary Fouty at February 1, 2006 3:43 PM

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