The Stadium Soap Opera Continues
If the Democrats allow the bill to be the Hennepin County only Tax increase, they are too stupid to win this fall. The Democrats frequently are too stupid to win, so I wouldn't put it past them to be this time.
If Governor Pawlenty of Tax Increases signs the Hennepin County Sales Tax increase, he is breaking his Taxpayers League pledge. If you want to let the Governor know how you feel about this, give him a call at 651-296-3391 (off hours are best), and leave a long rambling no stadium tax rant on the voice mail. You can go to the Taxpayers League site and read the pledge. It doesn't say anything about state taxes only - it talks about any and all efforts to increase taxes.
Now in my view, legislators and the governor should not be signing that pledge. If they sign that pledge, they should be prepared to honor it, not weasle out of it.
Also, if you are interested in dropping literature in the districts of legislative swing votes on this topic, drop me a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the 7 county tax increase for transit and stadiums has a referendum, that is better, though I'd rather those be two separate referendums.
Regardless, I think local governments should be exempt from this sales tax increase.
What really frosts me is that Minneapolis is a Net tax giver - and the rural areas all seem to think Minneapolis is a net tax taker. The truth is the rural areas are the takers.
I don't mind that, but it frosts me when they vote to increase my sales and property taxes - which is what the Hennepin County plan does. Minneapolis pays sales tax to the state - so a sales tax increase is a property tax increase.
Steve Kelley is promoting his alternative stadium/transit tax in the strib.
This is the summary of what happened in the strib. The rules committee pulled the bill away from the Tax committee and Larry Pogemiller. Then they voted for the metrowide Stadium/Transit tax increase of 0.5% with a referendum in all the participating counties.
It appears that the DFL Majority Leader, Dean Johnson is behind the plan, though he wants to remove the referendum requirement. I can't imagine that would fly on the floor.
"Our goal and objective is to move forward the stadium debate," said Johnson, DFL-Willmar. Though he acknowledged that the Twins would be reluctant to support the proposal because the team does not want a referendum, Johnson said he opposes a referendum and said he expects that there will be a move on the Senate floor to remove the referendum requirement.
Johnson and Sen. Steve Kelley, DFL-Hopkins, the proposal's author, said a half-cent metrowide sales tax was a move to package the differing stadium proposals and also to build two stadiums for less money than they would cost taxpayers separately. The plan, in addition, would provide hundreds of millions of dollars over time for transportation projects.
Here's the votes (source Star Tribune):
DFLers voting yes (13):
Johnson, Berglin, Cohen, Hottinger, Kiscaden, Langseth, Metzen, Pappas, Pogemiller, Ranum, Sams, Stumpf, Vickerman
DFLers voting no (2):
Republicans voting no (9):
Belanger, Day, Dille, Fischbach, Frederickson, Larson, Limmer, Neuville, Olson
Republican not voting:
Governor Pawlenty of Tax Increases opposes this plan - well it affects his area, but he's shown no qualms about sticking it to the Hennepin County Taxpayer.
It will be interesting to see if Linda Higgins will work to bring back the House plan which sticks it to the Hennepin County Taxpayer without a referendum.
I have obtained a copy of a flyer that was distributed in Pawlenty's neck of the woods - urging no votes on the Stadium tax - and urging voters to call both the Governor and Mike McGinn.