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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Strib is Not Amused by the Senate on the Stadium Boondoggle

They've got an editorial (again).

In football, a stunt is a pass-rushing maneuver. In politics, a stunt is what DFL senators were trying to pull off in the Senate Taxes Committee this week.

While making valid points about a new on-campus football stadium at the University of Minnesota and a new Twins ballpark, their main intent was squeezing the Republican governor into either approving new taxes that he opposes or vetoing the stadium bills.

It was the first injection of raw politics into a refreshingly bipartisan debate. Rep. Brad Finstad, R-New Ulm, was right to describe the senators' financing schemes as "pulled out of a back pocket in the ninth inning."

Committee Chairman Larry Pogemiller dislikes the commercialism of the Gophers plan and tried to yank away naming rights from TCF Bank (headed by a prominent Republican). Sen. Steve Kelley's point is more serious, but his timing is terrible. Instead of raising the sales tax in Hennepin County by a tiny amount to help build the Twins ballpark, he ponders a full half-cent increase metrowide. Thus, a ballpark roof could be added, a Vikings stadium built in Anoka County and important transit lines constructed, all financed more cheaply.

Personally, if the DFL allows the Hennepin County only stadium tax to pass, they will be too stupid to win.

The Analyst has a map of the votes on the Stadium Boondoggle.

Here's the vote.

The Strib featured some of the legislatures who switched positions on the issue. One of these was Al Junhke, who voted against this bill when it was taxing his constituents, but he voted for this bill to stick it to Hennepin County.

People should email the taxpayer league to ask them to include both Twins stadium votes (the referendum and the final bill) in this years scorecard. You can email the taxpayers league at

The Senate Tax committee will be at work on this all weekend.