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March 9, 2006

The usual stuff

• Hello all. While it has been difficult around here with the passing of Kirby, life goes on and the battle for justice and the American way continues at the Greet Machine.

• While I would love it if Kirby's final gift to Twins fans in the upper Midwest was renewed focus from our legislature to finally solve this stadium mess, I would still be surprised if that is how it shakes out. Some of our legislative leaders' hearts may have softened a bit but give it a couple of weeks and we'll be back to the status quo of cold, hard rocks intent on only one thing: getting reelected. Sorry to be so pessimistic, but I'm not Norwegian-Lutheran for nothing. If I'm wrong please convince me otherwise.

As always, I believe the votes are there if a stadium bill ever got to the floor of the House. Getting to the floor though ... that is another story. The Taxes Committee and the Ways and Means Committee are too close to really call right now. The trouble with these committees is that Ron Abrams is on both of them! Curse our luck...

Before I leave this train of thought, Jeff A from the beautiful state of South Dakota has this to say:

I'm obviously not very close to the situation, but I wonder whether the death of Kirby Puckett, sad as it is, will result in people remembering why and how much they love the Twins and result in a new ballpark being built. I don't know how likely that is, but it seems like it might be possible.

Kirby has already been credited with saving the franchise once. Wouldn't it be something if, with his death, he wound up saving it again?

Yes, Jeff, that would be wonderful. Is Kirby saying "Jump on my back" one more time? Time will tell.

• Speaking of Ron Abrams, he was recently quoted in the Minnetonka Sun Sailor where he had a few things to say about my favorite topic. When asked about the chances for a stadium bill passing the legislature this session Abrams replied:

It is difficult to predict the outcome of any stadium initiative. The Twins are insisting that any stadium bill not include a referendum requirement. If the Legislature complies, it will call into question a number of other provisions in Minnesota law calling for voter approval. Additionally, some drafts of the Twins proposal call for the bonds issued by Hennepin County be general obligation bonds, meaning that if revenues from a sales tax fall short, Hennepin County property tax owners will be required to pay higer taxes to make up the shortfall.

While his first two points are valid, the last point about general obligation bonds is flat out false. The only option for these bonds are revenue bonds funded by the sales tax. The sales tax alone will be more than enough and will probably retire the debt early as it did in Denver for Coors Field. While this will be a small consolation for people opposed to any tax whatsoever, it does mean that the Hennepin County plan won't touch property taxes at all. I shouldn't be surprised with this piece of disinformation from Abrams given his anti-stadium stance, but I am. Again, though, it probably doesn't really matter to those people who are against apple pie anyway.

That's all I got for now.

Posted by snackeru at March 9, 2006 8:30 AM | Stadiums


Shane, I'm no bond expert, but I wouldn't be so confident that these bonds will be retired early. The Coors Field sales tax in Denver covered a six county region, in a rapidly growing metro area during a generally improving economy throughout the 1990s. I don't quite see the same conditions here, especially if big new suburban developments in Blaine (*ahem* Vikings *ahem*) or Maplewood (Target) divert some retail spending from Hennepin County.

Good call on the nature of the bonds, though -- it's kinda weird how Abrams refers to "some drafts of the Twins proposal" as I assume there is a final version now (or at least an expired final version).

Posted by: spycake at March 9, 2006 3:03 PM

You are right, spycake, that it is only a theory that the bonds will pay off the debt early. Only time will tell. It would be nice though.

However, really, what are we even talking about this for? The day Twins stadium construction starts in this state is the day monkeys fly out of my butt.

Posted by: Shane at March 9, 2006 3:09 PM

Shane, it would be worth having a new stadium just to see that.

Posted by: Jeff A at March 9, 2006 4:44 PM

I'm sure the monkeys would appreciate it.

Posted by: spycake at March 9, 2006 6:45 PM

Sorry, as Shane's neighbor, I have no interest in anything flying out his butt.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at March 9, 2006 7:08 PM

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