Thursday, May 25, 2006

Terri Bonoff: Twins stadium tax, whether you want it or not

Sen. Terri Bonoff (photo: Minnesota SenateIn spite of portraying herself as a moderate, Senate District 43's Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka) showed that she can raise taxes and spend with the best of them during this session's stadium votes.

The Minnesota Senate, on a 34-32 vote (HF 2480), granted Hennepin County an exemption from the state law that requires local units of government to ask for voter permission to levy a local option sales tax. Hennepin County plans to levy a 0.15 percent sales tax to subsidize the Minnesota Twins baseball stadium and fund "political cover" projects such as youth sports and libraries in Hennepin County.

A little talked-about provision of the bill also grants Anoka County permission to levy up to a 0.75 percent local option sales tax, also without a referendum, to build a retractable roof Vikings stadium. This provision is contingent on legislative approval of the development and financing agreement for the stadium:
Representatives of Anoka County and the Minnesota Vikings shall negotiate an agreement for the development and financing of a stadium that meets the programmatic requirements of the National Football League, and that has a retractable roof, to be located in the city of Blaine. A report on the agreement must be presented to the legislature by January 15, 2007.

Subdivision 1. Authorization. To provide local government revenue to finance a football stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, located in the city of Blaine, Anoka County may impose a general sales and use tax on sales subject to taxation under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 297A, within its jurisdiction of not more than 0.75 percent. The tax imposed under this section must terminate 30 days after the county board determines that sufficient revenues have been received from the tax and other sources to retire or redeem the bonds issued to pay for the stadium...

Subd. 3. Exemption from local approval requirement. This section is not subject to the local approval requirement under Minnesota Statutes, section 645.021.
If any one of the 34 senators had voted no, these tax increases would not have passed. Sen. Bonoff was one of only three suburban and two Minneapolis senators from Hennepin County to help pass the referendum-free tax increase. Five DFL senators, including Senate Taxes Committee chairman Sen. Larry Pogemiller (DFL-Minneapolis), joined their Republican Hennepin County colleages in voting against the referendum exemption.

Hennepin County senators voting NO:

Bill Belanger (R-Bloomington)
Linda Berglin (DFL-Minneapolis)
Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis)
Chris Gerlach (R-Apple Valley)
David Hann (R-Eden Prairie)
Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove)
Geoff Michel (R-Edina)
Gen Olson (R-Minnetrista)
Larry Pogemiller (DFL-Minneapolis)
Jane Ranum (DFL-Minneapolis)
Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope)

Hennepin County senators voting YES:

Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka)
Linda Higgins (DFL-Minneapolis)
Steve Kelley (DFL-Hopkins)
Linda Scheid (DFL-Brooklyn Park)
Wes Skoglund (DFL-Minneapolis)

When asked to state her position on the stadiums at the League of Women Voters forum last fall, Bonoff said "not now" regarding the Vikings stadium, but in addition to the final stadium bill, Bonoff also voted in favor of an earlier version that funded the Twins, Vikings, and University of Minnesota stadiums with a 0.5 percent, seven-county metro area tax and a 13 percent wholesale sports memorabilia tax.

By voting to increase taxes without a referendum to subsidize professional sports, Sen. Bonoff showed how her beliefs differ from that of most Minnesotans (according to recent polls), and from fiscal conservatives in the west metro.

1 comment:

lloydletta said...

I wish there was something that could be done about Linda Higgins. I won't be voting for her, but that won't matter.