"We're making no predictions," said Team President Dave St. Peter. "We're
expecting a long day with a lot of amendments."
Knowing that at least one legislative leader believes the team will hit a
home run on the floor, team executives are cautiously optimistic that their
perseverance will finally pay off.
"The speaker of the House predicts it'll pass, and I'd like to believe the
speaker," Bell said.
To do that, the plan will need to overcome the objections of some members,
who believe, among other things, that Hennepin County voters should be able
to vote on the proposed property tax increase.
In addition to a $130 million team contribution, plans call for a 0.15
percent increase to the county sales tax -- 3 cents on a $20 purchase --
without voter approval, which is now required by state law. Both team and
county officials have said the referendum is a deal-breaker.
"Forget the hype, forget the nonsense. Let Hennepin County voters decide
if they want to be taxed hundreds of millions of dollars over the next 30
years," said Rep. Phil Krinkie (R-Lino Lakes), whose amendment to do so was
defeated 17-15, with one abstention and five members absent. A motion to
later reconsider the motion was defeated 18-16.
Krinkie chairs the House Taxes Committee, which approved the plan after
three days of hearings last week. The five county legislators on that
committee each voted no. Three county legislators not on the tax committee
voted yes Monday: Deputy Minority Leader Margaret Anderson Kelliher
(DFL-Minneapolis), Rep. Steve Smith (R-Mound) and Rep. Barb Sykora (R-Excelsior).
"It's another important step in the process," St. Peter said. "We're
starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel."
An amendment successfully offered by Rep. Lyndon Carlson (DFL-Crystal)
would require an agreement from Major League Baseball that the Twins remain
in Minnesota for 30 years.
A companion bill (SF2297), sponsored by Sen. Steve Kelley (DFL-Hopkins),
awaits action by the Senate Taxes Committee.
"We'll maybe find out something there later this week," Bell said.