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  1. #1
    sirweeze's Avatar
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    Dec 1969

    Pre-dawn vote gives Twins their stadium

    Pre-dawn vote gives Twins their stadium
    Pioneer Press

    After hours of committee meetings, years of waiting and dozens of starts and stops, the Legislature Sunday passed a $522 million measure to build a new Minnesota Twins ballpark in Minneapolis.

    The bill will soon be on Gov. Tim Pawlenty's desk, making it a signature — which he is expected to give — away from reality.

    The Minnesota Senate, where the votes were in doubt until the pre-dawn hours, passed the measure at shortly before 5 a.m. by 34-32.

    "Kirby Puckett's number," Jerry Bell, Twins owner Carl Pohlad's chief negotiator in team's decade-long fight for public funding for a ballpark, exclaimed in reference to the 34 votes that passed the bill. "How appropriate is that?"

    He said planning for the ballpark would begin immediately.

    "We finally are going to build a ballpark," he said. "We are going to play outside on grass the way it was meant to be."

    The House passed it late Saturday night on a 71-61 vote.

    The Twins bill allows Hennepin County to levy a new sales tax of 3 cents on a $20 purchase to pay for the Warehouse District ballpark and infrastructure. Although state law requires a local referendum vote on any new sales tax, the Twins tax is exempt from that requirement.

    That was one of the reasons many opposed the measure.

    "My constituents would like to be able to vote on this," said Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis. And she warned her colleagues that their counties' residents might be the next on the block to have a new sales tax imposed without a chance to vote. "Once this passes, just wait — you'll be the next one."

    She and 23 other Senate members voted to send the bill back to the joint House-Senate conference committee that crafted it. But a majority voted to keep the measure alive at 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, urged her colleagues not to vote against the Twins.

    "To send this back for another round is the wrong thing to do. It will kill it," said Rosen, one of the 42 who voted not to send the bill back.

    The Senate Sunday morning voted upon a very different stadium measure than it had passed earlier this month. That bill included a seven-county referendum for a new sales tax of 10 cents on a $20 purchase to finance a Twins stadium, a Vikings stadium and billions of dollars for transit.

    Senators Sunday approved a measure that does away with the referendum, limits the new sales tax to Hennepin County, and does not fund transit.

    That caused some consternation Sunday.

    "I think the action regarding the referendum and the transit piece were sly…and I'm extremely disappointed," said Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, DFL-Fridley.

    The Twins package does make a nod to the Vikings bid for a stadium but doesn't grant them a full legislative go ahead. Instead, it says that the Legislature may act more fully on the football team's bid in the future and gives Anoka County, the chosen site for a new Vikings stadium, the same exemption from sales taxes Hennepin County received to build the Twins stadium.

    The Vikings had worked hard for full stadium building rights this year and even brought National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to the Capitol to lobby lawmakers. Tagliabue dangled the possibility of another Minnesota Super Bowl but lawmakers decided this was not the Vikings year.

    For all the difficulty stadium debates have entailed over the last decade the one-hour Senate debate was fairly restrained. Senators were physically tired, having arrived at work 18 hours before their vote.

    "It's time to do this," said Sen. Dick Day, the Republican Minority Leader of the vote. "For ten years (the Twins) have been coming to us and they've put together a really good package."

    Rachel E. Stassen-Berger can be reached at [email protected] Patrick Sweeney contributed to this report.

  2. #2
    vikeswin2005's Avatar
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Pre-dawn vote gives Twins their stadium

    gr8 news

  3. #3
    Benet's Avatar
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Pre-dawn vote gives Twins their stadium

    This is why the Vikings don't need to worry.. Even the Minority Leader of the Senate said: "For ten years (the Twins) have been coming to us". How long have the Vikings been making proposals to the legislature? 6 months? 3 years maybe?

    It'll get done. We just need to be patient.

  4. #4
    singersp's Avatar
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    Sep 2005

    Re: Pre-dawn vote gives Twins their stadium

    Already posted!

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  5. #5
    cajunvike's Avatar
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    Sep 2004

    Re: Pre-dawn vote gives Twins their stadium

    Screw the Twinkies! Give the Vikes a stadium NOW!!!

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