p>In an attempt to overcome specific objections of Gov. Jesse Ventura and some
legislators, a new financing plan for a $300 million Twins stadium will be proposed today
in the House Taxes Committee.
Instead of an interest-free loan, the amendment calls for the state to issue $140
million in revenue bonds that would be repaid, with interest, from the lease with the
Twins and a 10 percent tax on tickets.
Gone, too, are provisions that would have made the stadium a sales-tax-free zone.
Ventura had objected to the tax-free zone and the interest-free loan provisions in the
"I'm trying to craft a bill that [Rep.] Phil Krinkie could vote for," said
Rep. Dan McElroy, referring to the Shoreview Republican who has steadfastly opposed any
state involvement in a new stadium.
McElroy, R-Burnsville, a member of the Taxes Committee, will offer the amendment
overhauling the stadium financing. He said he and Rep. Harry Mares, R-White Bear Lake, the
chief sponsor of the stadium bill, drafted the changes.
McElroy, who on Wednesday was considering proposing a nonbinding referendum, said
Thursday that if the amendment were adopted, there would be no need to go to voters since
state tax money wouldn't be lent. Instead, the state would sell bonds in the marketplace
to raise the money and the Twins would be responsible for repayment, McElroy said.
Under the new proposal, the Twins and other private interests still would have to
provide $150 million. The state would exempt stadium construction materials from the sales
tax, a subsidy estimated at $10 million.
Similar to the earlier bill, proceeds from the bond sale couldn't be used until Major
League Baseball made certain internal economic changes, "including enhanced revenue
sharing that makes baseball more competitive ... and enhances the viability of any new
baseball park." That determination would be made by a panel of three retired judges,
the governor and senior members of the Legislature. The earlier version included only the
three retired judges.
On Thursday afternoon, Twins President Jerry Bell and Jim Pohlad, son of Twins owner
Carl Pohlad, met with Rep. Ron Abrams, R-Minnetonka, the chairman of the Taxes Committee.
Neither Bell nor Pohlad had any comment on the new proposal after meeting with Abrams.
Said Abrams: "They did not voice support or opposition [to the proposed
Though the changes may meet some of Ventura's objections, the governor said on KFAN
Radio (AM 1130) Thursday afternoon that "I would prefer to deal with [the stadium
issue] next year."
Ventura said that by next year it will be known if a new contract between Major League
Baseball and the players will have changes that would protect smaller-market teams like
the Twins. The current Major League contract expires after this season.
Abrams, who like the governor expressed concern about the original tax-free zone,
declined to comment on the proposed changes. He did say that interest on state revenue
bonds is in the range of 5 to 6 percent.