counter statistics

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Dan Dobson on Steve Kelley's Fast One on the Stadium Boondoggle

No Stadium Tax Coalition
Volume 2 - Number 16

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

Why Steve Kelley is not qualified to be Attorney General


In the next few days, you as a member of the DFL State Central Committee, will have to choose between 3 candidates seeking to be the DFL nominee for Attorney General. I urge you not to select Steve Kelley as our party's nominee.

As Executive Director of the No Stadium Tax Coalition I closely observed Steve Kelley's performance at the Capital this past session, pushing for the new Twins and Vikings Stadiums. Regrettably, I must say that his behavior at best can be called disingenuous.I believe his actions disqualify him from being our nominee as Attorney General.

Let me briefly recap what occurred. After the Twins Stadium Bill bogged down in the Tax Committee, where Senators led by Larry Pogemiller, were asking serious questions about the proposal, Senator Majority Leader Dean Johnson made a Motion to pull the Twins Bill from the Tax Committee and bring it up to the Rules Committee. This motion passed and when the stadium bill came before the Rules Committee, Senator Kelley, the chief author of the Twins Stadium bill, pulled an amazing sleight of hand.

Senator Kelley proposed amending his "Twins Only - Hennepin County only 15% Sales Tax Increase - No Roof Stadium Bill" into a 7 County Metro Wide 1/2 Cent Sales Tax for new 2 new Twins and Vikings stadiums with roofs, while supposedly increasing funding for mass transit. His amendment also required all seven counties in the metro area hold referendums on the proposed 1/2 sales tax increase.

Then without a single public comment being allowed, even thou the prior bill had been in discussion for over a year, the full Senate, with all Republicans and only Democratic Senators John Marty and Becky Lourey in dissent, passed Kelley's new metro 1/2 cent sales tax / mass transit / Twins - Vikings stadiums with roofs proposal.

Senators were promised that Kelley's new proposal would generate over 12 billion dollars for Mass Transit over the next 30 years and would "only cost" one billion for the Twins and Vikings Stadiums. Several DFL Senators said they supported Kelley's proposal, which passed by one vote, only because it would generate billions of dollars for Mass Transit. It was said Kelley's proposal would fund light rail down University Avenue and commuter rail lines to Hastings and several other destinations.

Kelley's bill then went to a House / Senate Conference Committee, where Kelley's seven county metro 1/2 Cent Sales Tax / Mass Transit / Stadiums with Roofs Bill had to be reconciled with the House's Hennepin County only / .15% Sales Tax / Twins only roofless Stadium Bill. Senator Kelley was appointed the chief negotiator for the Senate.

Then one by one, the items Senator Kelley had promised his fellow DFL Senators to get their votes, disappeared.

First, the Seven County Metro wide tax was cut from 1/2 cent, to 1/4 cent, so the amount for mass transit was cut in half.

Then the roofs for both stadiums disappeared.

Then the referendum requirement for the Sales Tax increase in all 7 counties disappeared.

Then all mass transit funding disappeared.

Finally, after three days of negotiations the Vikings Stadium disappeared as well, until all that was left, was the original House proposal, as negotiated by the 4 male members of the Hennepin County Board and the Twins giving the Twins a new stadium, by imposing a Hennepin County Sales tax increase, without a referendum, as required by state tax.

Senator Kelley showed that he would do say or do anything to get the Twins their new stadium, including making promises to his fellow DFL Senators, which he did not keep.

I hope that you, as a member of the DFL Central Committee, will consider Senator Kelley's actions when you select a candidate for Attorney General on Saturday.

Dann Dobson
No Stadium Tax Coalition
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Linda Higgins worked very hard to make this a Stadium only, stick it to Hennepin County tax increase. I disagree with Dan's statement that this makes Kelley unqualified to be Attorney General. This is a black eye for Steve Kelley though. He should have insisted that the tax burden was spread more widely.

Governor Pawlenty wanted Hennepin County only because he wanted to stick it to Minneapolis, because most Minneapolis voters vote against him. Pawlenty didn't want a Vikings bill because that was in Anoka county - a swing district.

I believe that Mike Opat and Mark Stenglein are the most vulnerable to defeat. You can contribute to Greg Gray's campaign online.