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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Senate Tax Committee Hearing

They sure are an entertaining bunch over at the Senate Tax Committee.

I drove down to the State Capitol, since they had a hearing during non-work hours, on the Stadium legislation.

Senator Pogemiller started by asking if anyone in the audience wanted to testify. So I testified against the stadium tax. I hadn't gone in with a prepared speech, so I just winged it. I heard from Eric Escola, who was covering the hearing, that he put some clips from my testimony on the radio.

I mentioned the Hennepin County Board vote was a 4-3 vote, with Mark Stenglein, my ethically challenged county commissioner voting to increase the sales tax on the Hennepin County taxpayer without a referendum. I mentioned that Mark Stenglein had a conflict of interest on this issue and that some of the other county commissioners thought he should recuse himself from this vote.

They spent much of the time after that trying to go through and mark up the bill. There was quite a bit of dissention. Senator Ortman and Senator Belanger were angry about Pogemiller's efforts to combine the bills. Pogemiller pointed out that the Senate author, Steve Kelley had proposed the combined bill with the metro-wide sales tax.

Senator Pogemiller on several occasions gave Strib sports columnist, Sid Hartman a lesson in civics - and pointed out that marking up bills was part of the legislative process and not game playing.

Belanger talked about Sid Hartman and the strib editorializing against the metro sales tax - because it could deep six the Twins proposal. My thought on that, is the strib editorials and Sid Hartman have always promoted this boondoggle. The public consistently doesn't agree with them, and the people that legislators should listen to are their constituents.

Senator Limmer very much appreciated my testimony and stopped by to thank me. Other members of the public at the hearing also thanked me.

Minority leader, Dick Day was at the hearing.

The 9 AM hearing tomorrow is cancelled. There will be a hearing either at 3PM or 5PM depending on when the Senate Floor session ends. I strongly recommend attending these if you are concerned about increased Hennepin County Sales Taxes to pay for the Twins Stadium.