April 21, 2006
Dr. No strikes out

The Twins stadium bill appears to be on track to clear the House Taxes Committee. The bill survived a key vote Thursday night when opponents were unable to attach an amendment that would have required a referendum on the proposed 0.15 percent Hennepin County sales tax that would pay for most of the stadium. MPR's Tom Scheck sent along some post-game quotes.

"To be able to move forward from this committee with the bill in the shape, at least so far, in shape the way it was when we came here, goes a long way to getting a ballpark built," said Jerry Bell, president of Twins Sports Inc.

Rep. Phil Krinkie, R-Lino Lakes, who chairs the taxes committee, had a different take.

"What we've seen here tonight is the fact that the Twins have been very persistent in pushing a proposal forward. They are on the brink of getting success. It's amazing what you can do when you keep spending millions of dollars in order to access the public treasury."

Krinkie, who is known by some at the Capitol as "Dr. No," has been a staunch stadium opponent for a decade. The vote on the referendum amendment was 15-13. The committee is expected to take a final vote on the bill sometime Friday, but based on the referendum vote it should pass. The Twins and Hennepin County officials had called the referendum a "deal killer." Stadium opponents called it "democracy."

Once Krinkie's committee finishes work on the stadium they can get back to work on a House tax bill. The Senate passed its version Thursday. MPR's Tim Pugmire had that:

One day after the full Senate rejected a tax bill, DFL leaders were back to put a retooled proposal up for a vote. They removed a provision to increase the amount the state collects from a statewide business property tax as business property values rise. But they left in a plan to collect more taxes from some Minnesota companies that do business overseas. DFL Senator Larry Pogemiller of Minneapolis, chairman of the Senate Tax Committee, says the bill includes $244 million in permanent property tax relief and $154 million in one-time relief.

At noon today Gary Eichten will be talking with Newt Gingrich and Vin Weber about the future of the conservative movement. That should be interesting.

I'm all for freedom of the press, but how does the White House allow somebody with a press pass to disrupt the Chinese president's speech on the South Lawn? Is this an example of pre-911 thinking when it comes to security? Just one more example of incompetence? Or do you subscribe to a more conspiratorial view that the Bush administration wanted to embarrass the Chinese on human rights issues? Maybe it's all Scott McClellan's fault.

Posted by Mike Mulcahy at 7:00 AM


Where is the DFL party in the stadium debate? Where is the public outcry against funding millionaire owners and players with 5-million dollar signing bonuses? The Republican platform specifically denies support of public funding for sports stadiums, the DFL does not even mention it on their website. I don't know what is going on here. I'm disgusted at this going through with so little resistance in the very end.

Posted by Judy Ogren at April 21, 2006 9:04 PM