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Sunday, April 24, 2005

Hennepin County stadium deal

The Twins and Hennepin County have apparently worked out a stadium deal. Although the press conference announcing the terms will be tomorrow, the basic plan is for the county to increase sales taxes by 0.15%, while the Twins kick in $125 million. This would pay for an open-air stadium (roof available as a $100 million option, payable by the state) Northwest of the Target Center, near the confluence of I-394, a Hiawatha Light Rail extension, and the Northstar line.

I like baseball. I like the Twins. I would much prefer to watch them play in an open-air stadium as opposed to the Metrodome. However, I have been opposed to publicly-financed stadium plans in the past. To be honest, I don't know what to think about this plan. There is no state money, which is a plus. The sales tax increase is only 0.15%, which is extremely small in the grand scheme of things. However, there is no referendum plan, meaning the people who would have to pay the tax would not get a voice in whether it is applied.

If the plan included a referendum, I would support it at the legislature and probably even vote for the tax increase in the referendum. But if the powers that be don't want a referendum, then I see an alternative that is acceptable: tie this sales tax increase to the sales tax increase for transit. Either they both pass or neither pass. This way, the sales tax would go up all at once instead of separately, and it would ensure that the bulk of the increase went to a public good. If that was the plan, then I would reluctantly approve as the best alternative.


At 11:59 AM, April 25, 2005, Anonymous John said...

I think it's a little ridiculous to claim that there's no state money in this plan. They should say, "We'll give you a useless ball park that you can make usefull by contributing $100 million in state dollars." As great as an open-air park would be, there are just way too many days in early spring and early fall with lousy weather here to make it feasible for a full season's use.


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