Saturday, May 20, 2006
More on the Stadium and Senator Kelley
Eva tries to make the case that Steve Kelley is in trouble over the recent conference committee compromise on the Twins Stadium bill:
Steve Kelley is very vulnerable on this issue. The reason is, he caved to the stick it to Hennepin County stadium only tax. If he’d kept the metro tax - and kept transit in the bill, he’d have gotten something.
The Stadium bill he allowed in the conference committee also stripped the provision to exclude local units of goverment from the marginal sales tax increase - which means this raises local property taxes.
This bill is wrong - if the Twins are a statewide asset, the whole state should pay.
Before I start arguing this, let it be known that Eva and I, regardless of party loyalty, agree on many issues (especially gay rights), just not on the Stadium. I just disagree with you strongly on this one, Eva.
For one thing, I don’t think Kelley’s campaign is in trouble over this, and as I mentioned in that comment thread, neither does MnpAct. They warn that it complicates matters in the endorsement, but in a general election, it doesn’t have much effect. If, however, Becky Lourey’s supports are so vehemently against the stadium (as that survey massage tends to indicate) then it may be that Kelley’s path to the endorsement lies with picking up second-choice votes from Hatch’s delegates, and not those supporting his fellow Senator. Could be very interesting. See you in June on that one.
As for the transportation funding/referendum bit that got stripped in the conference committee - be real here. If that transit funding AND referendum requirement goes to the House for a conference committee confirmation, it fails. It’s a compromise, or nothing. He did his best, it didn’t work. Note: I wasn’t there, so technically, I suppose this paragraph can be taken as hearsay.
And lastly, the Twins as a statewide resource…I just don’t know. I know they pay state income taxes, and the case can certainly be made that they’re a statewide resource, but I think the case also can be made (reasonably) that they are not a statewide resource - what percentage of their ticket sales come from outside Hennepin County? Outside Hennepin/Ramsey? Outside the seven-county Metro? I’d be willing to be that an extremely high percentage of Twins ticket buyers live in the Metro as compared to ticket-buyers in Greater Minnesota. If this percentage is greater than the general population split, there’s at least a reasonable case to be made that the seven counties should bear the brunt of any financial burden - I’m fairly sure that was the thrust of Senator Kelley’s proposal.
With a referendum to boot too. That he compromised to get not just the Stadium bill done, but also the entire legislative session, shouldn’t be a shot against him.
But I’m biased.
I'd be interested in hearing the demographics of the stadium ticket buyers. There are plenty of Twins fans from Dakota and Ramsey County. Why shouldn't they help pay for this? What I heard with all the floor debate on this topic is people from the rural areas talking about "my aunt Mary" or "my uncle Jim" who listens to twins games on the radio.
When negotiating, you should always be able to walk away from the deal. Kelley didn't act from that perspective. He could easily have said to the house, the Senate won't pass something that isn't a metro tax and that doesn't have some transit in it.
The political climate on this issue is warn down from legislator to tax payer. every major office in this state is up for election this November 7th. We are all warn down, a few bucks from the Twins will kill us all. The Twins aren't afraid of spending the final couple million to ram a refferendum down our throat. The anti stadium crowd had been defeated, we are not willing to waste anymore time effort or money to defend ourselves, not because our passion is gone, but because the process gives us no benifit for victory, if we are defeated we are defeated regardless of next years legislators, regardless of next years public opionon, and regardless of next years reality.
We beat the pro stadium crowd every step of the way for 9 consecutive years, we did our job, we supported the voters taxpayers of Minnesota. Inexperienced Idiots like Brad Finstad have despratly emerged to take the charge on this issue. Good Republicans don't let people like Finstad take the charge on anything.
I love the Twins. I love Minnesota. I'm not worried about Las Vegas or contraction, why the hell are you?
MN Campaign Report said:
Eva - I agree with you, and I agree that not having an out-clause is a bad negotiating position. If you'd like, next time I talk to him I'll ask Senator Kelley about the negotiations and what went on behind closed doors that forced the metro-wide tax off the table.
Mike - I'm not sure what you mean. I'm not worried about Las Vegas, but there are certainly other cities that are willing to push for Major League franchises. San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Portland OR would all salivate at the possibility of luring a team away. This may not be the best deal possible, but when you consider that a few stadiums in other cities have been built ENTIRELY from public funds, it's not as bad as it could be.