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April 21, 2006

Holy cow ... is this ever boring

You know usually I am really, really enthused about watching a House legislative committee concerning my favorite topic of stadiums. But this is like watching paint dry. Krinkie wasn't kidding when he said two weeks ago that he wanted to give Tax Committee members a chance to put together their amendments. Yikes! There are probably 50 that the the committee has to get through, and I think they have about 15 more to go. I've been watching/listening to this since 10:00.

From what I've seen and heard, the bill is still a workable bill. I haven't seen every single amendment, but I know that there are a couple of amendments that have been attached that Finstad was against. We'll have to see if those amendments are problematic in any way and I'm sure we'll find out soon if that is the case. The most interesting amendment came from Ron Erhardt who wanted to add a roof to the deal. However, he also wanted to tax every county in the state at .06 percent. Thankfully this amendment was defeated as it would have killed the whole deal.

Two things I've learned. 1) I'm sorry, but Ron Erhardt is a little loopy. I think he means well, but it almost seems the other members are just laughing at him. He also had another amendment that wanted to allow Hennepin County to hire the National Guard to keep public order on days where the games have high attendance. The other members seemed to be just dumbfounded by this amendment given that the governor is usually the only person that can bring out the National Guard and people don't really "hire" the National Guard. It was strange. And 2) whenever a legislative committee says they are going to "reconvene at 2:00" this probably means 2:15 or 2:20. Punctuality does not seem to be a big priority to the Taxes Commitee.

I think they are about 2 hours away from a vote. I could be wrong. I'll definitely let you know when it is all over.

UPDATE: Krinkie is trying to get an amendment passed that will give the public a share of the revenues from the stadium given that Hennepin County is paying for "73% of the cost of the facility." Ruckavina asked what the County or Ballpark Authority will do with this extra money, and Krinkie seems to leave that up to the Authority. Krinkie is suggesting that the extra money could pay off the bonds, or go back to the taxpayers. This is a big one. The Twins are not going to like this one.

Finstad is "respectfully disagreeing with this amendment." According to Finstad, operational costs of the ballpark are already being incurred by the Twins to the tune of $10 million per year. Hennepin County is also against, and ...yep! you guessed it! The Twins are against it too.

Roll call vote. It has been defeated by an overwhelming majority! Even Abrams voted no. Phew. That kind of freaked me out.

UPDATE II: You know, I have just had a realization of sorts. I am actually of the opinion that deep down inside, way deep inside, Krinkie actually wants this bill to pass. I would think Abrams probably feels the same way. Stay with me for a second. If the bill passes, Krinkie is still "Dr. No" and he can always say he was against the Twins stadium bill and that he fought against it as hard as he could, and blah, blah, blah. However, if the bill fails, and something happens to the Twins ... well, Krinkie has got to know that will come back to haunt him. He would always be known as "the man that killed major league baseball in Minnesota." Do you see what I mean? Politically, it would make more sense for Krinkie to fight only so hard to make his stance known, but not too hard so that the bill also passes. Crazy or no?

UPDATE III: Even Krinkie is getting sick of all these amendments. He just told Mullery to keep his amendments brief because some legislators have to drive home tonight. Sigh. Well, I gotta go home for now so I am probably going to miss the actual vote on the bill. Someone let me know what the outcome is, especially if you can write down who voted yes and no. Later.

Posted by snackeru at April 21, 2006 2:23 PM | Stadiums 2006

Comments

I have no idea whether you're right about Rep. Krinkie, but it certainly isn't a crazy idea. I think that happens a lot in politics--people don't necessarily want their side to win, they just want to be on record in opposition. The assumption is that if they are eventually proven right they can trumpet that fact to the masses, and if they are proven wrong everyone will forget what they said. It's one of the things that makes me down on politics and politicians.

Posted by: Jeff A at April 21, 2006 4:43 PM

It passes out of Taxes!

Posted by: Myles L at April 21, 2006 4:49 PM

Here's the vote to pass:

Yes(15): Anderson, Atkins, Brod, Davids, Dill, Dorman, Koenen, Lanning, Lesch, Marquart, Nelson, Rukavina, Sieben, Simpson, Westerberg

No(13): Krinkie, Lenczewski, Abrams, Bernardy, Davnie, Delaforest, Erhardt, Howes, Knoblach, Kohls, Mullery, Vanderveer, Zellers

No Vote(1): Jaros

Posted by: Myles L at April 21, 2006 4:53 PM

I just don't understand... Baseball players and owners are among the richest people in America. Carl Pohlad is one of the Forbes 400 richest people! Why does he need taxpayer dollars? Only one reason - to make himself richer. I'm all in favor of people getting wealthy, but let them do it on their own, don't let them steal from the lower and middle classes to stuff more money in their pockets! Come on, don't you guys even see the exploitation? You can love baseball and support a new stadium without hurting the taxpayers by letting the owners fund the new stadium themselves; they'll get rich either way.

Posted by: Brian D at April 21, 2006 10:50 PM

Brian, You could move to South Dakota. They aren't spending taxpayer money on anything. And gee what an exciting place it is to live with so much culture and things to do.

Tax dollars have been used for quality of life issues for years Brian, this is nothing new. If you don't believe in it, move to somewhere where it doesn't happen. Somewhere boring and desolate like Grand Forks....Sorry Curt..LOL!

Posted by: kevin in az at April 21, 2006 11:48 PM

Kevin if it weren't so "boring and desolate" up here, I'd challenge you to a fight!

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at April 22, 2006 8:43 AM

We'll have to fight on neutral ground, however.
Let's say....Winnipeg???

Posted by: kevin in az at April 22, 2006 10:06 AM

What bothers me is that local libraries in Minneapolis have few hours, the streets are in attrocious shape, but the priority for the Hennepin County board is the Stadium boondoggle.

As I commented earlier, this is bad tax policy - this isn't just a sales tax increase - local governments pay sales tax - so this bill will increase property taxes for those who live in Hennepin County.

The non-Hennepin County legislators voting to increase the taxes of Hennepin County residents is what bothers me the most.

Posted by: Eva Young at April 23, 2006 3:42 PM

eva, get your facts straight, it's HENNEPIN COUNTY that is levying the tax on its residents, not the state. The state just waived the requirement of a referendum. If you feel the tax is unfair, contact your county board memeber. The HC Board did what was in the best interest of the county, if you don't agree with it, move out of the county.

Besides, there was chance after chance during the past 10 years for the state to spread the tax burden across the state, however, the state dropped the ball each and every time. Finally HC came up to bat and hit a homerun. HC should pay the brunt of it as they will reap much of the benefit.

Where I live we're paying for 2 new stadiums and 2 new arenas and we're doing just fine. The sky hasn't fallen and the children are still fed.

Posted by: kevin in az at April 23, 2006 6:38 PM

Eva, I respect your opinion (I really do) and I wish you the best in your efforts to thwart the plan. That is your right and obligation as a citizen of this state, to engage the political process. Of course, I feel differently about it than you do. I think you are grasping a little bit concerning property taxes, but I realize it would be hard to change your mind about any of this. So, I'm not even going to try. You are more than welcome to keep commenting on this site, but after 10 years it is going to be hard to change my mind. After the stadium is built and everyone is giddily attending outdoor baseball games, no one will remember this battle to get the stadium built, much like we don't remember the battle to build the Xcel Energy Center, the Target Center, or the Metrodome (all built with taxpayer dollars). I feel strongly about keeping Minnesota "major league" and I feel strongly that this is a good plan. I'm sorry we disagree.

Posted by: Shane at April 24, 2006 1:41 PM

I respect your opinion too, Eva, and agree with it, as do most taxpayers in Hennepin County and as did most voters and legislators statewide when they were repeatedly offered the honor and privilege of subsidizing the Twins' pro sports stadium in past years' "good plans."

Posted by: David at April 24, 2006 4:00 PM

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