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Friday, April 28, 2006

I, STADIUM Part 2: Senate Bill S.F. 2297

I wrote yesterday about the Stadium Craze, at Taxpayers Expense, that we are experiencing here in Minnesota.

The Twins want a new stadium and they want taxpayers to help pay for it. The Vikings want the same. And so do The Gophers, the University of MN football team.

Here it comes, get ready, because the Senate bill will have all seven Twin City Metro counties paying for the new stadiums for the Twins and the Vikings.

For this is one of the modifications in the bill that is now in the State Senate. The Senate version of the Stadium Bill calls for a 1/2 cent sales tax in the Twin Cities - St. Paul and Minneapolis - seven county metro area.

According to State Senator Larry Pogemiller, who's
never met a tax increase that didn't put him in a state of unbridled arousal, said:
Well, then why not pass Welfare For Billi-Millionaires onto the entire state instead of just the seven county metro area, Larry? As you said, they are the Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota Vikings, not the Seven County Metropolitan Twins or the Seven County Metropolitan Vikings.

Proponents are pushing hard for a No Referendum Vote, meaning this Sales Tax Taxation Without Representation would go into effect and bypass voter approval or denial. Who do you people think you are - Julius Caesar?

Well, if this is such a great public policy, and EVERYBODY is behind you, why not put the issue to the voter? Because you know the Grandiose Stadiums will be shot down.

When in the hell are people going to vote out of office Tax Happy Lunatics like Pogemiller? People like Pogemiller never need Viagra, they just have to pass a tax in order to become excited.

The same arguments proponents use for passage of taxation for Billi-Millionaires are the same, tired, atrophied arguments used years ago for building the Metrodome:

We're told, "Both the Twins and Vikings organizations are always willing to devote time and lend their names to charitable organization." Oh, that's sooooo nice. It IS! But how many countless other people do the same and get no type of tax relief for it, let alone special favors or recognition? I donate to charities and I know plenty of other people who do the same. Do we get favorable tax breaks from doing that with respect to the state paying for some of our mortgages? Ha!

I called my State Senator, John Marty, a Democrat, and left a message that I am totally against spreading this tax over a greater geographical area. Now, I feel for the people in Hennepin County who have the tax, in the House version of the Stadium bill, applying only to them.

But sometimes you get what you deserve from the people that you elect. And a large majority of Hennepin County residents are full fledged Liberals, thus, their elected representatives are Raging, Tax Happy Liberals that represent their Raging, Tax Happy constituents.

So, Hennepin County, you got the government you deserve. You want the stadium in your county and city (Minneapolis)? Then you pay for it. You're the base that put these Tax-And-Spend Democrats into office. You live with it. Don't spread your infectious and diseased Tax Happy Liberalism into the other metropolitan counties.

Now, back to Senator John Marty. I never cared for his politics. He's a Bleeding Heart Liberal who, in the past, has voted to Tax and Spend with the rest of the Tax Happy Liberal Crowd. But...he's had moments where he broke party rank and voted against what the Usual Liberal Posse has wanted him to do and the Stadium Tax, in all its forms, may be one of those items. So I hope Senator Marty will do the right thing and vote against spreading The Stadium Tax onto the other counties.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, has said he will sign a stadium bill. He hasn't clarified
which stadium bill it is he will sign. This is a man who got elected by promising no new taxes. Currently, we can only guess he will sign whatever bill that makes its way to his desk, if one does. He's said in the past, after being elected, that he doesn't want to be known as the Governor Who Lost The Twins.

**Gov. Tim Pawlenty ****** State Sen. Larry "Taxes Are My Aphrodisiac" Pogemiller

Regarding the University of MN Gopher Football Team, you basically were offered The Metrodome as your home for free, but the University said, "no, that's not good enough." You looked a gift horse in the mouth and decided you didn't want it. Well, that tells me you can play where you currently play and if you don't like it, build and pay for your own stadium.

The argument from proponents of new stadiums love to use the argument that "it's only 'X cents' amount on 'X dollars'." I don't care if it's .01 cent on every $100,000 dollars.

In other words, if I rob, steal or embezzle from you just a little it's okay, rather than if I rob, steal or embezzle from you a lot?

Years ago, a tax was approved (again, without any voter referendum), to build the Metrodome. The tax was supposed to be removed and stopped once the Metrodome was paid for. The Metrodome has been paid in full for I don't know how may years. But that tax is still in full effect!

And you Twins, Vikings and Gophers fans are no better than the politicians and Milli-Billionaire owners, and the U of MN, in your insatiable greed, indulgence and selfishness. Your blatant disregard of taxation without representation, and your willingness to transfer "wealth" - in this case taxes - for your pet little Stadium projects makes me want to wretch.

You're the same people who scream and have tantrums like spoiled children when the cost of a gallon of gasoline increases by a dime, a quarter, or fifty cents. Yet you have the gall to think that everyone should be required, by taxation, to help pay for your stadium.

Why, Pogemiller's Committee voted this afternoon to remove the sales tax from sports memorabilia! It didn't pass, but you don't even want fans to pay a tax on their bobbleheads, sports cards, pendants and other trinkets! You want to nickel-and-dime everybody else to help pay for your stadium, but when it comes to the tax on memorabilia, you want to be exempt! Can you get more avaricious than that?

**Billionaire Carl Pohlad*****Multi-Millionaire Ziggy Wilf

Gov. Pawlenty, you approve any bill that spreads the taxation for stadiums beyond Hennepin County and I will do whatever I can in campaigning door-to-door for your opponent. I will do whatever I can with this little blog to campaign for your Democratic opponent.

Right now it looks like your challenger will be MN Attorney General Mike Hatch, a Tax Happy and Regulation-Fueled Democrat. And that's fine with me. At least I know what I'm getting when a Democrat gets elected. I no longer know what I'm going to get from you, Gov. Pawlenty.

The entire Stadium Bill proposal is so outrageously selective in who, how, and where they secure public funding that one would think it was devised by Karl Marx.

When does it end? How much longer will we be paying the tax on the paid-for Metrodome, when proponents of it lied and said that tax would be removed once the Dome was paid in full?

You Liberals love to throw out the "For The Children" phrase. Well let me ask you this; will "The Children" still be paying the Metrodome Tax ten, twenty, thirty years from now?

Will "The Children" still be paying the New Twins Stadium Tax, The New Vikings Stadium Tax, and the New Gophers Stadium Tax, long after these artifacts are paid for?

When does it end? It ends now!

Call your representatives, people. E-mail them. Talk to them. Tell them you are against tax hikes for helping Milli-Billionaire Sports Team Owners.

Tell them if the university of MN doesn't want their beloved Gopher Football Team to play in the Metrodome then they can build and pay for their own stadium.

You can find your state legislator at the below links:

Minnesota House of Representatives

Minnesota State Senate


Information Resources:
The Taxpayers League of Minnesota
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Senate Hits Wall on Stadiums
Duluth News Tribune: Stadium Plans Dealt Setback
Carl Pohlad Cartoon From 1997, Yes, it's been almost TEN YEARS of Stadium Fatigue!
Artist Rendering of Twins Stadium, Ain't it purdy?
Artist Rendering of Vikings Stadium, Ain't it purdy too?

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Well I'm just as happy that Pogemiller doing this because this will kill the stadium boondoggle - which even more offensive when it concentrated the tax increase on Hennepin County.
Oh Lloyd...I wish I could be as confident as you are that the stadium boondoggle will die a quick death.

I have to disagree with you that it was more offensive when the tax increase was only concentrated in Hennepin Cty. Mpls/Hennepin lobbied for the stadium to be built in their territory. The Liberals who live there, year after year, vote into office Liberals who just can't stop themselves from spending taxpayer money. Plus, they were the ones who usurped the Voter Referendum, removing the voice of the people. With all due respect, Hennepin County and Minneapolis deserves the government it gets by continuing to elect these Tax and Spend Democrats.

To pass the tax increase onto the seven counties in the metro area is to infect the "tax virus" on to even more people. And you think that that is more fair? Please correct me if I am interpreting what you wrote incorrectly.

Thanks for writing. I do respect your opinions even though we may disagree.
Geez, must be nice to have free time to pontificate all the different issues. The "Minnesota"
Twins and the "Minnesota" Vikings and the "Minnesota" Gophers are enterprises that generate money, tourism, and pride for the state. The revenue from the sales of tickets, clothing, food, hotel rooms, drinks, meals are good for the economy of the seven county metro area. The tax should be spread out amongst them. I'll pay a cent or two on a dollar.
Modesto...if I didn't personally know you I would consider what you wrote serious and offer a reply. Instead, I'm going to make you my bitch.
David, actually if you look at the county board vote, Republican Randy Johnson, and Independent (really republican) Mark Stenglein voted for the stadium plan - without referendum, along with democrats Mike Opat and Peter McLaughlin. The DFL candidate, Greg Gray, running against Mark Stenglein opposes the Hennepin County stadium plan. Republicans Penny Steele and Linda Koblick along with DFLer Gail Dorfman opposed the stadium plan.

The Minneapolis Mayor, RT Rybak got elected for the first time after using the stadium subsidy against SSB, then as soon as he was elected, reversed his position. The Governor ran opposing public subsidies for pro-sports and that was his record as a house member. After election, he switched sides.

Also remember, that Minneapolis residents years ago had a petition to restrict public funds from Mpls to less than $1 million for stadiums (I think that was the number), and this passed handily - despite opposition from the DFL establishment.

The problem is that the Republican party doesn't invest in seriously contesting Minneapolis, while the one party DFL dominance makes for a poorly run city government.

My feeling is there shouldn't be a stadium tax at all - however, if there is to be such a tax, and the argument is that the Twins are a statewide asset, then the whole state should help pay the piper, rather than sticking it to Hennepin County.

While there are many amenities that are important to me, professional sports stadiums aren't on that list for me.
Hi Eva (LL),

You make good points, but the issue comes down to the residents of Mpls and Hennepin Cty., who, by a majority, lean liberal. Thus, they vote in like-minded politicians. Then, they bitch about a Hennepin only tax to fund a stadium. Well, as I wrote, they've gotten the government they deserve.

Are you telling me Mpls/Henn Cty would vote in a republican if the repub party invested in constesting Rybak or the others on the Mpls City Council or Henn Cty Board? I don't think a republican or fiscally conservative democrat would stand a chance! Mpls and Henn Cty are a liberally dominated area and short of a complete liberal revolt, I don't ever see that changing.

What I wrote in the I,Stadium Part 2 post is directed mostly at the politics of the public funding as it pertains to where the bill is at in the State Senate. And no, I don't think spreading the cost of a new stadium on to the metro counties, or the state, is at all fair. Hmm, for once I get to use the liberals (not directed at you personally by any means) favorite phrase: "It's not faiiiiiiir!" Awwww, that felt good.

I agree there shouldn't be a stadium tax at all. Next to that, because Mpls and/or Henn Cty will be the home of the Twins and/or the Vikings stadiums, yeah, I think they and only they should be the ones kicking in for a tax, if that's how it ends up going. I hate to be redudant but, you get the government you elect.

I poked holes in the frequently failed logic of "why taxpayers should help fund a stadium" with the post I wrote today, April 30.

I think you and I are more on the same side of this issue than we are in opposition. And I do feel for the people in Mpls and Henn Cty who would have this additional tax on their shoulders. But they are the ones who, year after year, elect and re-elect the liberals to office.

Mpls City has done all it can to be anti-business in so many ways, in the past several years, with a convention center tax, the anti-smoking legislation, over-regulating businesses...who's moving their corporate officers out of downtown, is it Target Corp? - I forget. Meanwhile, crime is up, today's Star Trib runs a great article on how illegal hand guns are plentiful in downtown Mpls and the city can't get a hand on it? It's absurd, and only the voters can change that. Will they? I don't know...it sure doesn't look like it to me.

Thanks for writing Eva.
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