May 2, 2006
Brian Bakst of the Associate Press has written the only Strib version of the events so far which include this key passage concerning Kelley's troublesome plan:
The Republican governor has kept a low profile in recent days. His spokesman, Brian McClung, issued a two-sentence response to the Senate activity.
"The primary problem is that the Senate bill does not build a stadium," McClung wrote. "The people of Minnesota should ask their senators how this bill would get the job done."
Pawlenty probably won't be forced to decide what to do with the bill. House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, said flatly that the House won't support the Senate version.
"It doesn't get the job done. It doesn't move ahead," he said.
This is very troublesome to say the least. I've searched the Senate website for Kelley's amended bill to no avail, but this passage suggests two things: 1) Tim "Scooby Doo Where Are You" Pawlenty will veto Kelley's version of the bill (duh) and 2) Kelley's plan must have more holes in it than Swiss cheese. How can you reconcile McClung's statement, "... the Senate bill does not build a stadium." Is he just saying T-Paw Doo would veto it (so it wouldn't build a stadium) or is he saying that the plan is financially unsound? Most likely it is both.
This is a nightmare. Believe me, I would love to have the Vikings situation taken care of too, and I would love to expand LRT, but Sviggum and the Governor's spokesman have both said this plan will go nowhere! Why does the Senate insist on pushing this?
Governor Pawlenty! Say something!
UPDATE: Great comment in post below from David Howe:
Senate Democrats you are making a mistake. If the Twins stadium gets built you will all get the credit. If it's not built, you will all share blame, but you will share more of it for playing these stupid games. We are smarter then you give us credit for. Stop playing games, pass the House version of the Twins bill and get it built. There is no reason you can't pass seperate Twins, Vikings and transit bills and we all know it.
Steve Sviggum is the only legislative leader in this whole state that is worthy of the label "leader." I may not agree with him on every issue, but at least I can trust his intentions. Dean Johnson, Steve Kelley, Tim Pawlenty ... all of them are more interested in playing games, taking credit, or passing blame than actually getting anything done.
Posted by snackeru at May 2, 2006 8:46 PM | Stadiums 2006
Kelly is right to insist on a retractable roof.
Pawlenty's spokesman is right that passing a 1/2 cent sales tax just to rais taxes is not a gaurantee that any stadiums will be built. Plus, to include transit with the stadiums bills is a vote killer. What is the Dem Senate thinking?
Posted by: Pat at May 2, 2006 9:28 PM
Interesting thought Pat. I would also love a retractable roof, but that ship has sailed. Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Boston all get along fine without one. I think we'll live. It is a want, not a necessity.
Posted by: Shane at May 2, 2006 9:31 PM
Perhaps this a good example of why a special session would have been a good idea last fall after all T-Paw Doo? Seems like they are in no hurry and have plenty of time to devise ways to derail the thing and end up doing nothing - as always. The legistlator's in this state are a real piece of work. And T-Paw Doo is the ring leader of the whole thing.
Sooner or later, governor you will fall off that fence and I hope you break your neck!!!
Posted by: Bobio at May 2, 2006 9:42 PM
If the DFLs do kill this bill, I will take it upon myself to lead a grass roots effort to knock them out of office this fall, and I usually always vote for Dems.
Posted by: Vince at May 2, 2006 9:43 PM
I also am a registered Dem and am furious with their pathetic gamemanship and posturing. How about posting a poll to illustrate the number of your readers who will hold these senators accountable come election time?
Posted by: anonymous at May 2, 2006 9:46 PM
Count me in as a typical D voter who will be looking for alternative candidates this fall. (Sorry T-Paw Doo, you don't qualify either)
Meanwhile the Gophers Stadium is still stuck in Pogemiller Purgatory. Look for the Senate Taxes Committe to vote on the Gophers about a week after the session ends.
Posted by: freealonzo at May 2, 2006 9:54 PM
Pro-stadium folks don't want to accept that Tim Pawlenty does not agree with them. He does not like large public subsidies for stadiums. He does not like tax increases in general, and certainly not for a stadium. And he does not like tax increases without a voter referendum when state law says voter referendum. He is not speaking out because he does not agree. Stadium types should be happy he is willing to flip-flop, hol his nose, and to get out of the way solely for political reasons, which is more than the many Republicans who are not stadium fanatics want him to do.
Posted by: Anonymous at May 2, 2006 10:10 PM
Another way to do this would be to make the sales tax increase statewide. That would avoid making it seem as if rural legislators are sticking Hennepin County with a sales tax increase.
I also think it's important to acknowledge this isn't ONLY a sales tax increase - it's also a property tax increase for residents of Hennepin County - since cities are not exempt from the sales tax.
If Governor Pawlenty had gotten involved earlier - and was public in support of the stadium - without the referendum, it would have been unstoppable. But Pawlenty is worried about alienating his base - and his base is QUITE surly about this one.
As I said before, I don't want to pay this tax at all, but I'd be happier about it if I knew that people in Wilmar (Dean Johnson's district) and New Ulm (Brad Finstad's district) were also paying the tax. It's more fair. It would be very interesting to get the demographics of Twins fans, how many live in Minneapolis vs burbs, vs rural areas - and compare to the populations of the area.
If there was a referendum on this tax, I could be persuaded to vote in favor. Carl Pohlad apparently made a big donation to the Minneapolis Public Library. That's the type of thing he needs to do more of, if he wants to build good will.
What really bothers me is these stadiums need to be new every 30 years or so. I really had to laugh at the argument that we would have "saved money" if we'd done this 10 years ago. No we wouldn't - that would simply have meant that we'd be asked to pony up again 10 years from now.
The Hennepin County Plan is paying this off over what - 22 years - well to me that's too long something that only lasts 30 years.
Posted by: Eva Young at May 2, 2006 11:27 PM
Senator Pogemiller was on the P.A. and Dubay show earlier today (Wed). My Lord, what a blowhard! No surprise the Senate Taxes Committee was such a disfunctional mess. Anyway what really gets me is when Senator Pogemiller and others say they "support the Twins," or they "support a new ballpark" while their actions are totally detrimental to getting a ballpark built. And I am sorry but the 7 county 1/2 cent sales tax will ensure that there is no ballpark bill this year. Talk is cheap Senator Pogemiller, talk. is. cheap.
KFAN has podcasts of their interviews and have already stated that the Pogey interview will be on a podcast. Please check out the KFAN website to see what kind of politicians the Twins and Gophers are up against.
Posted by: freealonzo at May 3, 2006 11:11 AM
So because the Senate wants to pass stadium bills that fit their agenda, but the House and Pawlenty (yes, they are the same party) will only approve stadium bills that fit THEIR agenda, we should get really angry with the Senate?
It sounds like what you really want is some bipartisanship, which doesn't appear to be happening on either side at the moment (and yes, McClung saying this new bill "does not build a stadium" is Pawlenty's way of rejecting any proposal that doesn't fit his agenda).
Concerning this new bill, does it still meet the recommendations of Pawlenty's stadium screening committee from a couple years ago? It's still a local tax with no state money involved. (And it's still very possible that it won't include the referendum in its final version)
Posted by: spycake at May 3, 2006 11:15 AM
"There is no reason you can't pass seperate Twins, Vikings and transit bills and we all know it."
This isn't true. The House and Gov can both kill Senate transit bills, or require alternate funding (i.e. general funds) for them, thereby necessitating further budget cuts.
Why are we all getting our underwear in a bunch over this? We know this isn't an wham-bang process. If you want immediate results without any procedural moves, stay out of politics! As Dean Johnson said, there will likely be a move on the floor to strip the referendum off this bill. As long as there's no referendum, I really don't see what's wrong with this bill as opposed to the dueling Twins/Vikes bills. They will just be two different means to the same end for stadium supporters, and it will require BOTH SIDES to work on a compromise (that goes for Johnson, Pogey, Pawlenty, AND Sviggum!).
Posted by: spycake at May 3, 2006 12:03 PM
I can't follow politics in your state too closely, so forgive me if this is an ignorant question. As I understand it, though, a lot of the politicians who favor a stadium are opposed to a referendum, presumably because they think a majority are opposed to it. On the other hand, a lot of the politicians who oppose a stadium are afraid to just come out and say so, presumably because they think a majority favor it. The only way I can reconcile this is that a majority of Hennepin County, where the referendum would be, is opposed, but a majority of the rest of the state is in favor. Is this right, or have I missed something?
Posted by: Jeff A at May 3, 2006 12:27 PM
I don't get a chance to vote on who receives tax increment financing....go figure on how the redev of the Hoigaards site on 100 and 7 qualifies for that....and now the Megamall wants help with financing for an addition?
Any type of referendum will kill this.
Legislators, get the House ballpark done.
Posted by: mpls1934 at May 3, 2006 12:30 PM
As usual Spycake makes some good points, but overlooks others.
He's right we knew it was never going to be a wham bam process and the legislative process is never pretty.
However, the House has the advantage here because they passed a bill that passed muster with the Twins (remember them) and negotiated by Hennepin County. (You can argue the Twins are not contributing enough but with $130 million on the table, they do deserve to be heard).
I agree if there was a metro-wide sales tax with no referendum paying for the stadiums that would be great, except... it shoehorns a roof onto a Twins site that can't accommodate it, and it's not clear it would pass the House or the Governor. We know the House bill passes muster with the House, the Governor, the Twins, and Hennepin County. There is no such assurances with the current Senate Bill. There are strong indications that the bill passed by the House would pass the entire Senate if allowed to vote. It is the machinations of a few (sadly DFL) Senators that are preventing that from happening. Ditto for Gophers. That is why my underwear is in a bunch.
Posted by: freealonzo at May 3, 2006 12:31 PM
Once again Spycake who claims he doesn't oppose
stadiums in the "classic sense" whatever that means,is once again trying to fool this audience.
First, Let's examine his comparison of an alleged
House/Pawlenty "agenda" vs. a Senate/Kelley/
Johnson/Pogemiller"agenda" this sound good but
we can see how phoney this is upon a little examination.THE HOUSE/PAWLENTY POSITION IS THE
SAME POSITION THAT HENNEPIN COUNTY ASKED LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL FOR OVER A YEAR AGO !!!!!
IT IS THE SAME POSITION THAT MOST OF US HERE HAVE
URGED THE GOVERNOR AND THE LEGISLATURE TO PASS FOR THE LAST YEAR! IT IS THE SAME POSITION THAT
DEAN JOHNSON SAID HE WOULD SUPPORT IF THE HOUSE
PASSED IT! AND FINALLY IT IS THE SAME POSITION
THAT SEN.STEVE KELLEY as the bill's author -- presented LESS THAN A MONTH AGO to the SENATE Local and Government Operations Committee where
it was approved! SHANE what you said about Steve
Sviggum is true. He is the only one who has shown
any leadership on this! But what shocks most of
us is that the LATEST SENATE BETRAYAL IS SO UNEXPECTED!
Posted by: jimj at May 3, 2006 1:11 PM
I am glad there is someone else out there hammering the point that we don't need a roof. Back when St. Paul was still a player in the Twins ballpark race, it was well known among the St. Paulites lobbying this issue that the Minneapolis site could not accomodate a roof. I am not sure if anything has changed. Shane, what do those folks at "Twinsballpark" think of this roof issue. I would think that they should make some kind of statement. Of all the sketches and renderings we saw at the rally a while back, none showed a roof.
Posted by: Jiminstpaul at May 3, 2006 1:13 PM
As usual freealonzo you said it far better than
Posted by: jimj at May 3, 2006 1:31 PM
I'm not trying to fool anyone. I just get tired of the daily (sometimes multiple times per day) accusations of "betrayal" and the like, some of which have already proven untrue in the past. Dean Johnson has already said he opposes the referendum and there should be a move to remove it from the new bill. And the Twins and Hennepin County sure as heck don't care if someone else wants to pay for the ballpark, and all else being equal (no referendums), I don't think they care whether the House or Senate versions finance it. So far there is little evidence that there are any nefarious motives for this proposal, and I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with legislators having different ideas than the governor. If it ultimately blocks the ballpark from being built at all, then it will be a problem, but at this point, neither proposal is anywhere near being blocked. Let's at least hear them out before we judge and type in all caps!
Posted by: spycake at May 3, 2006 1:58 PM
The original ballpark renderings all had a roof apparatus along the third-base side. In face, the pictures here at Greet Machine and at the Twins official site are virtually identical to these original ones except the roof has been removed. You can see these original ones at the ballparksofbaseball website. The Twins have maintained all along that they're not opposed to a roof, but they're not going to pay for one.
Just to clarify, I'm against the roof too, but I hadn't heard anything about the site not supporting one.
Posted by: spycake at May 3, 2006 2:07 PM
All I can say is that the political gamesmanship displayed by the Minnesota Senate this week have convinced me that we all need to start seriously considering a unicameral legislature in this state.
Posted by: twayn at May 3, 2006 2:13 PM
A roof is not important to the Twinsballpark people or the County. I've heard from the County in particular who have said that they are more concerned with fan amenities like heated (and cooled) concourses, wider concourses, and even heated seats. I think both the County and the Twinsballpark people are focusing more on awnings to protect the crowds from the elements and making sure the councourse areas are comfortable.
Because really a roof might protect people from rain, but not from cold. If a roof is put on it will still be the same temp inside the stadium as it is outside. It would not be an enclosed facility.
Truthfully I am excited about the idea of heated seats. That will be a step in the right direction.
Would I take a roof? Sure, but I don't think it is necessary. We might see 4 to 5 game cancellations a year. The resulting double-headers will be fun!
Posted by: Shane at May 3, 2006 2:18 PM
In the comments above, Eva Young stated "I also think it's important to acknowledge this isn't ONLY a sales tax increase - it's also a property tax increase for residents of Hennepin County - since cities are not exempt from the sales tax."
I went to the Minneapolis budget web site and while it's hard to figure out how much the City spends on taxable items I think I'm being conservative when I state that it's about $168 million. Put 0.0015 tax on it and we are talking about $250,000 or less than 70 cents per person increase. I'm sure in the other Cities in Hennepin County it is even much less than that.
Wanna know how much the City's budget went up in 2006 from 2005? $73.8 million. The potential ballpark sales tax increase is 0.3 of 1 percent of that total. That's the beauty of the Hennepin County plan, the rate is so small it is practically unnoticable.
So when the Eva Youngs of the world complain about how much the ballpark is gonna cost them, save those pennies you usually leave at the SuperAmerica counter and give them to her instead.
Posted by: freealonzo at May 3, 2006 2:52 PM
The only way a ballpark is going to pass is if it has something more useful and relevant attached to it, like transit. The stadiums by themselves are not necessary, they are merely toys for a few people who are too cheap to pay for them.
The house bills are awful! The house leaders are practically paid off by the teams, so of course the approved the exact bills the teams want. The senate bills are much better, and everyone knows it!
Posted by: .5% metro tax at May 3, 2006 3:45 PM
Does anyone know when the floor vote in the Senate is? I had heard it was tomorrow, but an article in the Star Tribune about the Gopher bill indicated they may vote on all 3 stadiums Monday?
Also, can you believe Senator Marty is the one who changed his vote and voted in for the Gopher stadium? Senator Marty voting in favor of ANY stadium is a sign of the apocolypse. What is truly scary is that it shows how partisan this has become.
Posted by: David Howe at May 3, 2006 6:54 PM
Are you really under the impression that the Stadium should be higher priority than transportation?
To me, Minneapolis is a bit of a cold Omaha because unlike New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington DC, and many other places, we just started getting light rail.
Alonzo, $250,000 would buy us quite a few cops in Minneapolis.
I'd like to see this bill amended so that cities are no exempted from the sales tax - the whole thing, not just the margin of difference. If the city wasn't paying the state in sales tax, we could have better roads, more library hours, transit and police - all things that on a day to day level mean lots for my quality of life.
Good transit - and that includes trains - is a big factor in getting conventions. People at conventions like to have alternatives to taxis and rent a cars for getting around the city.
Linda Higgins sent me an email that said the sales tax exemption is in all three bills, I wrote back to ask her whether that was on the .15% or if it was on the whole state sales tax.
If the state is cutting LGA, it would make more sense to make sure that cities - which Minneapolis is the largest - would be exempt from the sales tax going to the state. The University of Minnesota is exempt, so are non-profits. Municipal governments should also be so.
I'd much rather see that than getting the rebate on my property taxes..... while I'm getting a rebate on my property taxes, I'm being assessed to pay for the repaving of Lyndale avenue - a major street.
Posted by: Eva Young at May 3, 2006 11:13 PM
I'm starting to get cynically excited about the Twins leaving for Las Vegas and the Vikes heading for L.A. I mean, I really don't care much for the state of Minnesota anyway. As a former South Dakotan, I'd get some pleasure seeing the Twin Cities disappear from national consciousness.
Lack of pro sports pretty much throws Minnesota on the pile with ND, SD, IA, and NE as flyover states holding little value in the national popular-culture conversation. (although IA and NE have big-time followings for college sports, which the Gophers can't hope to match in the near future.) Fat lot of good all that progressive education funding will do when all Minnesota young people grow up with dreams of getting out of bush-league Minnesota and moving to the big-city, national stage, metropolis of Milwaukee.
The Twins are Vikes ARE the national face of Minnesota and the Twin Cities to many people across the country and around the world. We can pretend people care that Minneapolis has nice bike paths and lots of theatres per capita, but that's obviously a joke. Surely second runs of The Lion King at the Orpheum don't scream Minnesota! "Prince" should not be the only possible answer to pop culture trivia questions about Minnesota.
Good lord. The NFL is the biggest success story in American business and culture and the state is just daring it to leave. Fine, I say.
I suggest you change this blog to a virulently anti-stadium forum--you could even invite Gollum to guest-blog. Together, we can drive Minnesota onto the trash-heap of modern irrelevance!
Posted by: ss at May 4, 2006 3:39 PM