Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Stadium tax rounds second base

After a proposal to require voter approval (as per state law) for a $1.1 billion windfall to the Minnesota Twins and Hennepin County failed last night by a vote of 10-9, the stadium tax authorization bill itself will be heard again by the Minnesota House Local Government Committee. If that committee passes it, it will be referred to the House Taxes Committee.

 15.10     Subd. 3.  [SALES AND USE TAX.] (a) Notwithstanding 
15.11 Minnesota Statutes, section 477A.016, or any other law, the
15.12 governing body of the county may, by ordinance, impose an
15.13 additional sales tax at a rate not to exceed 0.15 percent on
15.14 sales taxable under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 297A, that occur
15.15 within the county, and may also, by ordinance, impose a
15.16 compensating use tax at a rate not to exceed 0.15 percent on
15.17 uses of property within the county, the sale of which would be
15.18 subject to the additional sales tax but for the fact that the
15.19 property was sold outside the county. For purposes of this
15.20 subdivision, sales that occur within the county do not include
15.21 sales that would be exempt pursuant to Minnesota Statutes,
15.22 section 297A.68, subdivision 11, 15, or 16, if the name of the
15.23 county were substituted for the words "state," "the state," or
15.24 "Minnesota."
15.25 (b) The tax authorized under this act is exempt from
15.26 Minnesota Statutes, section 297A.99, subdivisions 2 and 3.
There is plenty for Republicans and Democrats to hate about this tax-without-referendum. The Pioneer Press reported today:
But opponents, led by Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, said supporters' real fear of a referendum is simply that residents will vote it down.

Lenczewski, in whose district the Mall of America sits, came to the committee with 32 amendments to offer — most of which aimed at inhibiting or slowing the ballpark process. She managed to offer nine before chairman Mark Olson, R-Big Lake, adjourned the meeting in accordance with House rules, which state that committees must end their work at midnight.
The Senate District 42 Republicans web site is all over this issue and many others, with detailed talking points that you can use when you phone the legislature to demand a referendum in Hennepin County. For example, did you know that the Twins would retain naming rights for the stadium, enabling the team to recoup virtually all of its $125 million "contribution?" Sounds like a free stadium for the Twins to us!

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