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May 5, 2006

Strangely at peace

• After 10 years of debate, all of this seems to be finally coming to a head. And I am strangely at peace about all of it. Believe it or not, I actually think this will all work out. I don't know what has brought about this sudden surge of optimism, but I am concerned enough to go see a doctor. Now then, on with what I am thinking about.

• A reader was kind enough to send me a letter he received from Steve Kelley himself. It has some interesting information:

My current proposal grew out of conversations with Scott Dibble, Frank Hornstein, and Jim Davnie about their concerns over the stadiums and the need to have a broader approach that embraced transit. I took their ideas and made them concrete in terms of the stadium debate and how we could build them for less money and have money for transit. I became convinced that I had to talk about and be an advocate for a better way to build the stadiums, saving hundreds of millions of dollars, and jump starting a commitment to transit as we enter an era of high gasoline prices ... With this deal, I have some hope of having more Minneapolis senators support the project. Either way, I am committed to getting a stadium bill passed this year.

It is a noble goal, to be sure. I can't disagree with his intentions of trying to to fix a problem that is sure to get worse in the coming years. There is also something telling in his last sentences when he says he hopes to have the support of "more Minneapolis senators." Could this suggest that the Senate needed the support of more Minneapolis Senators to even pass a stadium bill in the first place? Perhaps. But his last sentence gives me the most hope, "Either way, I am committed to getting a stadium bill passed this year." A Twins stadium bill is sure to pass the Senate in some form. Will this "committment," though, carry over to the conference committee and the Governor's desk? Is Kelley willing to give up at some point and find a compromise?

I think what we all need to ask Sen. Kelley is does he have the votes? Does he have the votes in the Senate? Does he have the votes in the House? Can he convince Pawlenty that this is the best plan? If not, when will he cut his losses and make a compromise?

When will Kelley and Dean Johnson realize they don't have the upper hand here?

• We all know that both Sviggum and the Governor are dead set against Kelley's plan. However, today the Governor finally spoke out himself strongly about keeping the Twins in Minnesota:

In his first public comments on major DFL changes in stadium legislation, the Republican governor said the Twins are his highest priority for a stadium by far, and that two newly proposed stadium-related taxes are dead on arrival to his desk unless major changes are made.

"The real urgency or concern here is the Twins," Pawlenty told reporters. "The others can be considered on their own merits in their own time, in their own way, but the one team that we're at risk of losing now or in the near term is the Twins, and so we will stay focused on that as a priority.''

For a stadium supporter like myself, these are wonderful words to read. They show a real fear that it is possible something could happen to the Twins. They show the Twins are the Governor's top priority. But more importantly, T-Paw's words demonstrate he may finally be getting involved. And we need that.

So, what will happen?

• Craig Westover, the Pioneer Press columnist, writes on his own blog what he thinks could happen and who he thinks has the upper hand:

What the DFL is counting on, of course, is once we've tasted the sweetest of having a ballpark, the bitterness of a the 7-country metro plan (which philosophically is no different than the House stadium tax-and-spend plan, it only differs by degree) won't be noticed. Moreover, the GOP House (as Republicans are wont to do) prematurely declared mission accomplished on the ballpark. The GOP has lot of political capital invested in providing a ballpark. The Democrats never promised new transportation money. So who’s in a better position for compromise?

Unless the DFL blinks, and Sen Steve Kelley the author of the 7-county metro bill doesn't blink (see Q-Comp), if the House GOP is dead-set on delivering a ballpark, look for the "compromise" to be a Twins Stadium (no Vikes) and a 7-country tax something less than .5 percent but includes transportation funding. If not, the campaign rhetoric is the Democrats support the right of the people to the vote; the Republicans failed to deliver on their promise of a new Twins stadium.

What? Does anyone else think this? Does the DFL really have the upper hand here? I'm not convinced that the Republican House and the Republican Governor are in the backseat on this one. I am also not convinced that Sviggum and Pawlenty won't revel in their ability to blame the DFL in the case that this all falls through. My impression is also that the bulk of Twins fans state-wide (and there are a lot of them) are actually kind of ticked with the DFL Senate right now. Does anyone else feel differently?

• Given all this I think the Hennepin County plan, and its bi-partisan support in the House, will ultimately win out. The Senate will vote on Kelley's bill next week. Two things could happen: 1) it could pass and move to conference committee with the House or 2) it could fail only to be replaced by the bill that the House passed which the Senate will then pass. Whatever the case, a bill will pass the Senate and it will either be something the House will support and the Governor will sign, or it will become something the House will support and the Governor will sign.

That is the way I see it.

And if it doesn't happen this way, I would take a 7 county metro-wide sales tax too. I'm not picky.

Whatever happens, though, I am strangely at peace with the whole thing. It is almost over. Hallelujah!

Which Twins ballpark plan do you prefer?
The Hennepin County plan that passed the House
The Senate plan that includes a metro-wide sales tax for Twins, Vikes, and transit
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Posted by snackeru at May 5, 2006 6:04 AM | Stadiums 2006

Comments

I think this house plan without a referendum will have problems getting through the senate. Most Minneapolis State Senators will vote against a stadium plan that just taxes Hennepin County residents without doing something that their constituents want - and in Minneapolis, more of the political active constituents want transit than stadiums.

You have to also remember that the stadium issue is hurting Kelley big time with DFL delegates in his efforts to get DFL endorsement for Governor. Lourey opposes the stadium and Hatch doesn't have a position.

Posted by: Eva Young at May 4, 2006 10:24 PM

Hatch is pro-stadium. Lourey has no hope. Kelley has supported stadiums for 8 years without a problem getting re-elected. I don't think the DFL, led by Dean Johnson, is going to want to be the ones that cause a stadium to fail. Statewide fallout would be pretty bad and they know it.

Posted by: Shane at May 4, 2006 10:31 PM

I don't know if this is the time or place to raise this, but I'm getting really tired of hearing about the unfair burden that the monstrous 1.5 percent sales tax places on Hennepin County residents. Has anyone analyzed what percent of this "burden" will be borne by non-Hennepin County residents who shop and spend there? I live less than a quarter mile outside Hennepin County, and I work within it, meaning that I do a considerable portion of my spending in HC. Sales tax is significantly less geo-specific than property tax. Why, other than for the obvious political pandering reasons, can't Hennepin County legislators recognize or acknowledge that the tax impact is much less of an us-vs.-them matter than they like to pretend?

Posted by: OldStuffer at May 4, 2006 11:02 PM

OldStuffer, I have read that 25% of the money raised by the tax would be paid by non-HC residents. And remember, the tax is .0015. Multiply $20 by .0015 and you get 3 cents. I'm going to post a Ballpark Tax calculator soon that will spell it out even more.

Posted by: Shane at May 5, 2006 7:04 AM

Shane,

I agree it is great to see the Governor finally say something of some significance on this issue. With the inability the DFL and GOP to work together in the past, if this goes through, I feel the Gov will come out smelling like a rose. He definitely will not lose any GOP support, and some more moderate Democrats may choose to reward him for finally showing some leadership.

I think we will also see the two sides reach some middle ground with the transit situation getting a much needed lift. Again, I really do hope that a solution to this issue may actually prime the pump of progress for the state legislature to finally start working together on some more important issues. I also, am confident that sites like yours have really mobilized a lot of previously apathetic stadium supporters (like myself) to finally make their voices heard. I think our representatives are finally listening. Thanks for sticking to your guns!

Posted by: zooom at May 5, 2006 8:16 AM

"My impression is also that the bulk of Twins fans state-wide (and there are a lot of them) are actually kind of ticked with the DFL Senate right now. Does anyone else feel differently?"

I do. I'm pro-stadium, and right now I'm more ticked at the GOP House leaders and the Governor. It is they, not the Senate DFLers, who have done all of the "there can be no compromise" sabre-rattling to this point. If the Senate passes a bill that is significantly different from the House's, both sides and the Gov will have to put on their thinking caps and thir grown-up pants and hammer out a solution. It remains to be seen who should take the blame if there is no stadium law. Just because the House acted first doesn't mean that its bill is somehow inviolate.

Posted by: N. Looper at May 5, 2006 9:42 AM

The significance is less that Hennepin County residents have to bear an unreasonable burden, but that Hennepin County's own fundraising powers will be hurt due to a regional amenity, largely enacted due to the votes of outstate legislators. I mean, if in the future Hennepin County wanted to contribute to a transit project, or a community within Hennepin County wanted to raise funds for their own special project, this tax would effectively eliminate one of the best funding options for the next 30 years or so. And although it sounds like new cars will be exempt (read that here, haven't heard it elsewhere), I imagine a lot of people will leave Hennepin County to make big-ticket purchases just to save a few bucks. People are cheap that way, especially a lot of thrifty Minnesotans!

And I don't think the statewide opinion is overwhelmingly anti-Senate DFL over this, at least not right now. Their proposal is still reasonable and doesn't affect most of the state (I'd say the 5 non-stadium metro counties would be most ticked off with them right now, at least the anti-transit residents). Certainly some notable stadium advocates have reacted angrily to the new Senate proposal and that doesn't help, but if the House/Governor refuse to compromise in good faith, that won't look good either (and in the end, that might seem more overtly political than the Senate action thus far).

I'm glad to read some optimism here! It does sound like the stadium should pass one way or the other, and I'm glad both sides of the aisle are getting a chance to voice their proposals.

Posted by: spycake at May 5, 2006 9:45 AM

If they do use the 7 county tax to build the Twins stadium, is the site of the new stadium then up for grabs?

Posted by: matt at May 5, 2006 9:58 AM

Thanks for the comment N. Looper. It will be very interesting to see how this all shakes out, but like I said in the post, whatever happens I'm feeling pretty good about it.

And spycake, I could see people leaving Hennepin County to make big purchases for a couple of years, but after that I think this will all be forgotten. Cars are exempt, so a big purchase could be a computer. Say a computer costs $1,700. The tax would be $2.55. It will cost people more in gas to drive out of the county than it would to just pay the tax.

And Matt, I have not heard that the site for the Twins stadium would change. I think it would stay the same. The transit options in that area, and the existing parking, make it a pretty good site.

Posted by: Shane at May 5, 2006 10:06 AM

Watching the stadium bill work its way through the legislative process reminds me of the old saying attributed to Otto von Bismark, "People who enjoy sausage and the law should not watch either being made."

But it will all be worth it when I can sit with my wife and children in a new outdoor ballpark, the magnificent Minneapolis skyline towering over center field, watching the Twins play the greatest game ever invented - while eating a bratwurst.

Posted by: twayn at May 5, 2006 10:08 AM

I know it's not scientific, but the poll Shane put up a couple of days ago has blame squarely on the senate dems, Leader Johnson, and Steve Kelly over T-Paw and the Republican House. Currently over 2-1 blame the senate dems.

My reading of Craig Westover is that he is one of those libertarians who would be a republican if it wasn't for all those messy social issues. For some reason he thinks the D's are a well oiled, professional political machine taking Paul Wellstone's marching orders from beyond the grave while the R's are a bunch of bumbling boobs who are amatuers to this political stuff and are continually getting schooled by their smarter and more devious opponents.

So I take with a little grain of salt what CW is saying. However, a smaller metrowide sales tax is not a bad idea. How about 7 county, 1/4 cent sales tax for Twins and Gophers, no Twins roof, no referendum, and transportation funding. Come on T-Paw and Speaker Swiggum, surely you can support that.

Finally I am not sure I understand the inclusion of transportation funding to get more Minneapolis Senators on Board. It appears to me that transportation is a bigger issue in the suburbs. Not saying Minneapolitans aren't concerned about transporation but my intra-city commute is 12 minutes in the morning with ample opportunity for bus and bike riding to just about any where I want to go.

Posted by: freealonzo at May 5, 2006 10:09 AM

Stupid question here which may have been addressed, but what kind of Tax Benefit does having a Twins team in state give TO THE STATE?

I know they have all sorts of loopholes, but if the Twins Payroll is at $50-$60 MM, a year, doesn't the state see about 20% of that?? Isn't that a significant number??

Seriously, if we are talking about a (picking really high number out of the sky here) $900MM commitment by the State to keep the Twins, that is $30MM a year.

20% of $60MM is $12MM a year. And I think I'm being rightfully conservative here. Payroll is supposedly only about 50% of the revenues generated, so the Twins have to pay their employees a decent number as well. I don't know if we are over $20MM a year in taxes generated strictly by the team, but I bet we are close.

This is the kind of stuff that won't be included on a referendum, or even repeated in the "major" newspaper stadium coverage. But it should be.

Posted by: Drake33 at May 5, 2006 10:53 AM

Good points Drake33. Also remember the State gets imposes an income tax on teams that play here. So when A-Rod, with his 25 million/year salary, plays 3 games here a year, Uncle T-Paw gets a small cut.

Posted by: freealonzo at May 5, 2006 11:05 AM

The voice of Pro DFL,Pro Strib and Anti-Stadium
(In the classic sense) UNREASON,Spycake strikes once again refusing to address the realities we
face regarding these stadium bills! Let's review
them one by one, AGAIN :
1)With all due respect Shane,Steve Kelley's NEW
PROPOSAL can reasonably be viewed as a last minute
attempt to A) Scuttle the stadium by proposing a
concept they Know PAWLENTY and the HOUSE won't
agree to and/or B)A method to jump start a failing
campaign for Governor!
2)THE HOUSE AND THE GOVERNOR have already COMPROMISED ! Everbody who reads this blog knows how close the votes were in the HOUSE committees
and on the FLOOR TO keep the referendum off to pass the bill the way the TWINS AND HENNEPIN CO.
HAVE SAID IT HAD TO BE!Steve Sviggum was operating under general consensus that most of us
here were,that if we could get this bill though the HOUSE, that becasuse of the assurances of SEN.DEAN JOHNSON and STEVE KELLEY the SENATE would pass the bill ! THAT'S WHY I CALLED IT A BETRAYAL but, SPYCAKE,since that term upsets you,let's call it a MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT !!!!
3)DO THE POHLAD'S REALLY WANT A BILL TO PASS?
I think they were as surprised as anybody that the HOUSE passed the bill! Their LOBBYING effort has been, by many accounts, anemic this year! Mostly a DFL crew who should have far more influence with a DFL SENATE than a GOP HOUSE !
ZIGGY WILF AND THE VIKINGS HAVE BEEN THE BEST
LOBBYISTS the TWINS have at the capitol this year! AND NOW LOOK WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE BALLPARK IN THE SENATE!

Posted by: jimj at May 5, 2006 11:36 AM

I think it has been reported that player income taxes (including the visitor's share, I believe) bring in roughly $10-$12 million annually, and this number has been echoed by Sid and others. That's a significant amount, but it makes the Hennepin County-only tax even worse since the state will receive the most direct benefits from the Twins... hopefully at least it opens T-Paw's mind to compromise.

I'm pretty agreeable to freealonzo's compromise proposal above, that is, if the numbers still work out (and who know if Kelley's numbers even work out at this point!). But if you take the Vikings out of it, you might lose some support, especially from Anoka County (they will essentially have to add 2 separate taxes then), although adding the Gophers (and shelving Pogemiller's memorabilia tax) should help. I agree it's good to drop the roof, though, and scale back some of the transit plans, and hopefully reduce the half-cent increase (.25 would be great).

Posted by: spycake at May 5, 2006 11:42 AM

Sorry if I've upset you, jimj! I just think it's a bit too early to come to those conclusions yet. Hopefully it all still shakes out okay, but if it doesn't, there will be plenty of time for pointing fingers then.

Posted by: spycake at May 5, 2006 11:49 AM

It's not a matter of being "UPSET" spycake,it's a
matter of looking realistically at what has happenned and what can and should be expected to
happen. SINCE YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO IGNOR THE 3 POINTS I HAVE MADE IN MY PREVIOUS POST I MUST ASSUME YOU ARE IN AGREEMENT OR YOU CANNOT REFUTE THEM!
Also,Shane,I have not seen MIKE HATCH's position
on ANY stadium ANYWHERE! It would be helpful if
you would provide us all with a link to his statement of support!! I THINK YOU SHOULD CALL HIM
OUT ON THIS AS STRONGLY AND AS EFFECTIVELY AS YOU
CALLED OUT TIM PAWLENTY !

Posted by: jimj at May 5, 2006 12:19 PM

I didn't think I had to respond to your points, but here goes:

1) I think there is little *evidence* (but plenty of speculation) about Kelley's motives so far. From the message that Shane posted, and the fact that the referendum requirement may still be dropped, I think we have to give him the benefit of the doubt for a little while longer. If this proposal eventually stops *all* stadium talk in the Senate, or Kelley comes out as unwilling to compromise on it, then I might agree with you here.

2) The Twins and Hennepin County don't care how the public financing happens, just as long as it happens. So far this looks like a reasonable alternative to the longer-term, limited-use Hennepin County tax. And again, I'm not going to be upset with Kelley or Johnson as long as I feel they're not ultimately inhibiting the ballpark from passage this year, and right now, the *evidence* (not merely speculation) indicates they just want to make the deal better.

3) I don't know what this point means.

Also, I will read your posts whether they are in capital letters or not!

Posted by: spycake at May 5, 2006 12:37 PM

My point spycake is that 1) Kelley's plan is a
radical departure from what he proposed before a
Senate commitee only one month ago,2)That Steve Sviggum can't squeeze anymore BLOOD out of the HOUSE turnip!and 3) the point you don't (want to)
understand-- that the merits of the Kelley/Johnson
/SENATE plan are beside the POINT! The Senate's
shennanigans could result in no Bill that could give the Pohlad's an excuse to keep their money and go to LAS VEGAS !

Posted by: jimj at May 5, 2006 1:19 PM

Look folks, the Senate is under no obligation to fall in lockstep with the House just because they passed a stadium bill. They have a right to have their voice heard as well. Like it or not, they have a (state) consitutional right (duty?) to insert their views into this process. It's all a long negotiating process - sometimes it's more out in the open than others, sometimes not so much... this Senate idea is really just an opening offer in a negotiation process.

Posted by: Neil at May 5, 2006 1:21 PM

Certainly,they have that right Neil, but as I have
said,over and over THE SENATE POSTION ACCORDING TO
SENS JOHNSON and KELLEY WAS THE SAME POSITION THAT
THE HOUSE ADOPTED UNTIL JUST A FEW DAYS AGO !WE
at this blog all assumed it!An "OPENING OFFER"!
THAT'S BALONEY! and PEOPLE WHO HAVE HAVE WATCHED THIS ISSUE FOR THE LAST YEAR KNOW IT!

Posted by: jimj at May 5, 2006 1:38 PM

For the commentators on this site! Call your State
Senator as I have and tell them to quit fooling
around and support the Hennepin plan as passed by
the House!

Posted by: jimj at May 5, 2006 1:44 PM

Of course the Twins want a bill to pass. This is still a heck of a deal for them, regardless of how the public pays, and there's no stadium waiting for them elsewhere. I think they realized this year, though, that they had reached the limits of relentless lobbying, and the ball was clearly in the politician's court.

I think we're closer in opinion on this issue than you believe, but like I said, I'm going to withhold my judgement until we see how this develops. It's far too speculative right now to let my blood pressure go through the roof!

Posted by: spycake at May 5, 2006 1:47 PM

Dude, no need to yell.
I've watched this issue and many others for quite some time as well, jimj. Politician and political bodies negotiate issues (and thank God they do) and stake out positions all the time. When/if you bought your house, did you offer the listing price right off the bat or did you start low, knowing it likely wouldn't be accepted, and work your way up?

Posted by: Neil at May 5, 2006 1:49 PM

I'm with Spycake on the politics and the abuse of the caps lock key.

Posted by: N. Looper at May 5, 2006 2:34 PM

Jim,

Why should they support the House plan? The senate plan is far superior. It pays for the stadiums faster, costs less in the end, adds a roof, and pays for transit, the only good thing about the bill. Have you been so brainswashed by the Twins that you would rather pay more for the same stadiums?? Let it go, the house should have tried harder. They simply rubber-stamped a really bad bill. If they can't adapt to the times, then the Twins will have to leave or build their own stadium.

Posted by: .5 metro tax at May 5, 2006 4:07 PM

Your right. I shouldn't yell. I should just face the fact that I am addressing a group of DFL partisans (which you will all deny.It will be fun
to watch these next few posts LOL !)I find it comical to watch the way Kelley,Johnson and you
guys spin this when you all know in your hearts that the Senate plan kills the ballpark!

Posted by: jimj at May 5, 2006 4:36 PM

I usually vote the D and I've come down hard on the Senate Democrats!

Others are right the Senate doesn't have to roll over for the House, but the House did pass a bill that has the backing of the Twins (and Gophers) that the Governor would sign and indications are that the full senate would pass if they had a chance to vote on them. So the House Bill does have the upper hand. They are playing from a position of strength.

Second, although Steve Kelley is a ballpark supporter, many others who have shaped the Senate response are not (check out the names Sen. Kelley mentions above, all three are pretty much avowed Twins ballpark opponents). There is just a sinking feeling that the ballpark opponents are scuttling a ballpark by creating a bill that won't get passed.

I think the relatively easy passage in the House, coupled with the fact that the citizens of the state didn't rise up and burn down the House once they passed a ballpark bill took the opponents completely by surprise and now they creating a rear guard action against a ballpark. There is room for compromise and I feel Shane's serenity on ultimate passage, but it doesn't mean we can't take the Senate to task for going through a process that I think everyone can agree has been pretty mucked up.

Posted by: freealonzo at May 5, 2006 4:56 PM

"I know they have all sorts of loopholes, but if the Twins Payroll is at $50-$60 MM, a year, doesn't the state see about 20% of that?? Isn't that a significant number??"

Actually it's more complicated than that. Consider:

1. You only get taxed in Minnesota on the days you actually work in Minnesota. The technical term for this is 'duty days'; if you work three days in Minnesota, you pay based on your income for those 'duty days'. But that's only if you actually work - players on the disabled list, for instance, are exempt from taxation via 'duty day' calculation.

2. Minnesota has tax reciprocity agreements with a number of neighboring states, which means that when a Wisconsinite works in Minnesota, those taxes go to Wisconsin, not Minnesota (and vice versa). Many wealthy ballplayers make their homes in Arizona or Florida for the other tax benefits, but the impact of tax reciprocity shouldn't be underestimated.

3. Waalthy ballplayers are, well, wealthy. Which means they have tax advisors whose job it is to assemble their tax returns as well as come up with every legal way in which to lessen a ballplayer's tax. For instance, hotel lodging is generally provided by the team (at least that's my understanding), so that can't be deducted. But if a player rents a car, the cost of that car rental is deductable as a business expense, so long as the player isn't reimbursed for that expense - just as an executive who rents a car in another state for work can write it off as a work expense.

The state of Wisconsin looked at the taxation of pro athletes back when Miller Park was being planned, and their estimate (they had to estimate, as privacy laws didn't allow them to directly examine the players' tax returns) was that the tax benefit to the state from all three pro sports was about $11 million, of which over half was provided just from the Green Bay Packers. (The Packers share was large by comparison for two reasons - during the pre-Miller Park era, the Pack was among the highest payroll teams in the NFL, and because the Packers practice and hold training camp in Wisconsin, those days count as 'duty days' for Wisconsin tax purposes - whereas Brewer Cactus League games do not, since they're not held in Wisconsin.)

I'd expect that the Timberwolves probably provide as much if not more 'athlete tax revenue' to the state than the Twins do, so why the rush to lay out the red carpet in the form of a multi-million dollar handout for the baseball team?

Oh, and Shane...

"And if it doesn't happen this way, I would take a 7 county metro-wide sales tax too. I'm not picky."

Then you have to read Al Sicherman's take on the whole stadium tax thing. Do you realize we could simply tax the entire world with a 3 cent on $2000 purchase tax and collect enough to pay off the ballpark in just two years?

http://www.startribune.com/404/story/400376.html

Incredible! And just as logical as most folks taxation plans, IMNSHO.

--
David Wintheiser

Posted by: David Wintheiser at May 5, 2006 6:56 PM

Shawn - are you saying that the Stadium issue is going to be a reason for you to vote Tim Pawlenty for Governor over Steve Kelley?

I think Twins fans - like many others - are voters who will not use single issues on which to base their votes.

This issue is hurting Tim Pawlenty with his base - and it's hurting Republican candidates with their base.

And the philosophy from the Governor on this has been - let's stick this tax on Hennepin County - since that's mostly democrats.

Statewide polling on this issue in the past (the Strib didn't do a Minnesota poll this year - I wonder why) showed very strong opposition to public funding for stadiums - and also there was a question on the referendum - and again - the public by large margins supported the referendum.

Craig understands the republican base well.

David Strom from the Taxpayers League made a deal with Tim Pawlenty a while back that he would back off on public stadium opposition if the Governor would support TABOR - Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

Mark Stenglein - the county commissioner in my district is going to face a serious challenge this year - and ironically, the person challening him, supports a referendum - and while he was in the legislature, voted in favor of stadiums.

Twins fans aren't the only interest groups there are. There was a letter in the paper that pointed out that attendance at theaters was higher by 3 times the audience at all the professional sports.

Larry Pogemiller was hearing from constituents on this issue. I know that very well. If you go and view the threads on the Minneapolis Issues list (this is the list for many local politicos) - the sentiment is strongly opposed to the house plan - now that there is the transit attached, some erstwhile opposition is looking at it.

I am not one of those people - but I'm just reporting on what I see.

I talked to a Republican activist (who had been pro-stadium tax before) who told me the Governor was flirting with losing western Hennepin County over this issue.

I know some of the commenters on your site who have opposed the stadium tax have sounded like morons, but there are many more of us who are not morons but just think either that there are other priorities of what the government should be doing with scarce tax dollars and secondly that if there is to be a stadium tax, it should cover the entire state - rather than sticking it to Hennepin County.

Posted by: Eva Young at May 5, 2006 11:01 PM

Mr. Wintheiser,

I agree that there are ways around it, but it balances out, right?? Minnesota athlete's pay other states, it's logical that Wisconsin athlete's pay Minnesota taxes... Or are we the only state in the nation that is completely screwed up??

It would help if we got rid of the unbalanced schedule and played the Yankees 6-9 times in this state rather than the 3 that they currently have. But A-Rod has more taxable income in his three games a year, than most of us do in a year.

I'm just saying. If the Twins go away, that money goes away. Poof.

Posted by: Drake33 at May 8, 2006 10:25 AM

I decided to leave this thread Friday afternoon because I don't think anybody will read this far.
But,EVA,I and many others believe that if the TWINS don't get a stadium bill, Major League Baseball will conduct an auction for the TWINS
franchise,with the highest bidder able to move the
franchise to anywhere the new owners will be given
a FREE STADIUM to be paid for by the winning city
or state! This is what the polls you cite don't
reflect and why the governor has changed his mind
on the BALLPARK!

Posted by: jimj at May 8, 2006 3:09 PM

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