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Action moves to Senate
Though the vote was a significant milestone for the Twins, the attention turned almost immediately to the Senate, which has only briefly discussed the stadium proposal but has scheduled a hearing for today. Others turned their focus to the role that may yet be played by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has said he prefers a referendum but supports the Twins proposal.
"We urge the governor to keep his no-new-tax pledge and veto this $1.1 billion tax increase unless there is a referendum," said Laura Lehmann of Citizens for a Stadium Tax Referendum.
But in remarks to reporters Wednesday, Pawlenty appeared to leave little doubt about where he stood. "We're not going to lose the Minnesota Twins on my watch," he said.
Throughout the day, stadium opponents in the House tried to attach a series of amendments to the proposal to either derail it or make it more politically digestible. One amendment asked that at least 80 percent of the revenue the Twins receive from the sale of stadium naming rights go to the newly created ballpark authority, which would oversee the stadium. The amendment lost by a 75-56 vote.
David Strom, president of the conservative Taxpayers League of Minnesota, said the stadium proposal's success in the House was a result of Republicans who were eager to show voters that, unlike last year, the Legislature was in a mood to act. The strategy, he said, could backfire at the polls in November if Republican voters feel their legislators have abandoned a conservative spending philosophy.
"Republicans are trying to spend their way to election success," said Strom, who watched Wednesday's proceedings and opposed the Twins stadium proposal. "I think the Republicans are in trouble in being out of control."
But Doug Carlson of Apple Valley, wearing a Twins jersey and cap, said he drove to the Capitol on Wednesday to make sure Rep. Dennis Ozment, R-Rosemount, his legislator, voted for the stadium.
Said Carlson: "The only reason he [gets] his yard sign in my yard is [if] he votes for the stadium."
Mike Kaszuba 612-673-4388