Paul Gazelka and the Brainerd Dispatch: Stick it to the Hennepin County Taxpayer for the Twins Stadium
Paul Gazelka is as hypocritical as Al Juhnke on this issue. Legislators who signed the Taxpayers League Pledge, such as Brainerd area reps Paul Gazelka and Greg Blaine, broke the pledge when they voted for the stadium bill.
Paul Gazelka has a letter to the editor explaining his vote:
Open Forum: Positives outweighed negatives with Twins vote
The Minnesota House of Representatives recently approved legislation that creates a Minnesota Ballpark Authority with responsibility for construction and operation of a new Major League ballpark in Minneapolis.
The bill also authorizes Hennepin County to issue bonds, and to impose a 0.15 percent local option sales tax to provide revenue for payment of debt service on bonds, for ballpark construction.
Although I voted for the final bill, I also supported a proposal requiring a referendum in Hennepin County. I don't endorse additional taxation, but I will if the citizens who will be taxed support it.
However, I do believe that teams such as the Minnesota Twins and the Vikings are an important part of our state and our image. The topic of a new Twins stadium has been debated for a long time, and this legislation is the final compromise of those years of work.
Hennepin County would receive some benefit by having additional jobs thanks to a new stadium. These would be jobs lost if the Twins chose to leave Minnesota.
I'm not sure what life in Minnesota would be like without professional baseball - I didn't want to find out.
Rep. Paul Gazelka
You can call Paul Gazelka at: (218) 829-9694. Remind him that he signed the Taxpayers League pledge to vote against any and all efforts to raise taxes. Please also send letters to the editor expressing your outrage at Paul Gazelka's vote. Letters can be emailed to: email@example.com.
Twins stadium plan deserves support
OUR OPINION: STADIUM PLAN
Twins stadium plans have seemingly been as plentiful as roster changes on our favorite Major League team. They come and go with the frequency of free agents and hopeful rookies.
Maybe we're just carried away with the seasonal exuberance of spring, but this year could be different. This year the long-standing stadium talk could actually lead to concrete action.
The Minnesota House passed a stadium proposal Wednesday that calls for a $552 million open-air ballpark in downtown Minneapolis to replace the woeful Metrodome. A stadium bill is expected to be taken up soon in the Senate.
The current plan calls for no money to be used from the state's general fund. Twins owner Carl Pohlad will put up $130 million and the remaining three-fourths of the cost will come from an increased sales tax in Hennepin County. The current plan is, by far, the best plan that has come forward in the past 10 years. Those outstate Minnesotans who don't give a hoot about the Twins or Major League won't pay a dime toward the stadium if they don't patronize Hennepin County restaurants or hotels. The tax burden is where it should be on the shoulders of those who are likely to benefit from the stadium. While we understand the sentiment for a Hennepin County referendum on the sales tax, any disgruntled residents from that county can certainly voice their unhappiness at the polls this November. Those commissioners who approved the sales tax could be voted out of office.
It's time to put this question to rest once and for all. The Twins stadium bill is a reasonable compromise that deserves the support of the Legislature.
I will take that advice and do whatever I can to defeat Mark Stenglein in November - and I hope the stadium tax will be the reason for his defeat.