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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ballparks, Astroturf, Grassroots, and How To Be Heard

Are you ready for another tax hike so the Minnesota Twins can afford more mega-million dollar players? Oh yeah, they say they need the money to pay for a new stadium, but lets get real. In recent years, every team that coerced its town to buy them a ballpark, suddenly found millions to spend on players.

Hey, I'd like new digs at work. Do you want to build a mega-tower for my employer?

The Twins claim that they can't compete in the Metrodome. What's that? Wasn't the Metrodome and the noise fans generated credited for giving the Twins an edge in both of their World Series victories? Think back to 1987 and 1991. In both years, the home team won every game played in the World Series. Fortunately, four of the seven games in each series were scheduled at the Dome.

In truth, the Twins don't need a new ballpark to bring in fans, they need a winning season.

Don't get me wrong. The Metrodome is a terrible park for baseball (save for those chilly spring and fall days). Baseball was meant to be played on real grass. Watching a fly ball hit to the outfield is like watching it land on a pool table. Outfielders don't need to hustle to get to the ball before it dies in the grass, the ball rolls quite nicely on the artificial turf.

But, does my preference for a real baseball stadium warrant forcing taxpayers to pick up the tab for a 500 million dollar ballpark?

Before I continue, let's flash back to 1980 when the $50 million Metrodome was proposed. A 4% sales tax hike was passed in the city of Minneapolis to fund the park. The Dome is paid for, but the darn tax still remains. Perhaps if the Minneapolis tax hike went away with the last payment on the Dome, a new tax for a new stadium would be easier to swallow.

What do you think about a new stadium? Should taxpayers pick up the tab?

On March 7, you will have an opportunity to be heard. Join fellow citizens at your local party caucus and tell the candidates what you think.

A new Twins stadium is likely to become a political football this year. Which reminds me. If the Twins get a new statdium, the Vikings will want one too.

Democrats are trying to position themselves out of harms way. If taxes are raised, they want to blame the Governor. Consequently, Democrats do NOT want voters to to have the opportunity to vote on a stadium referendum on Election Day.

Funny how this works. Democrat members in Congress block everything that Republicans propose, then they successfully blame Republicans for a "do nothing session". Now Democrats are trying to force a tax hike, then blame it on Republicans too. They are good at blaming others for their actions.

Unfortunately, Republicans all too often lose their spine during such fights. Republicans are poised to go along for they don't want to get blamed if the Twins leave town.

This is where you enter the equation. If you want the Republicans to have more backbone, you have to give it to them – so to speak. Caucus night is your opportunity to do so. Not only will you have the opportunity to let Republican congressional candidates know how you feel, but you give them more ammunition to support your view on the floor of Congress.

Governor Pawlenty has a good idea. He wants to let the voters in Hennipen County decide whether they want a sales tax hike to pay for the stadium. A referendum measure would be added to the general election ballot. But, the Twins fear that they would loose this vote. And, Democrats don't like giving voters a choice regarding tax hikes.

Still, it makes sense to let the people decide on such a controversial issue – especially an expensive one that does not affect "essential services".

Unfortunately, Governor Pawlenty has expressed that a ballot measure is only a preference -- not a deal breaker. In other words, forget it – unless you speak up NOW – or on March 7!

At the caucus, you will also have the opportunity to modify the Minnesota Republican Party Platform.* For example, you could sponsor a resolution requiring a ballot measure for special interest tax hikes – such as a stadium. You can then sponsor a resolution that such taxes sunset at a specified time.

Want to make a difference? Then show up.

Want someone else to make things different for you? Then stay home.

*You've got to be an eligible Minnesota voter and committed to supporting Republican Candidates to attend a Minnesota Republican Caucus.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Daisy said...

Childen, baseball
Apple pie be next?
Apple farmers
are they vexed?

3/03/2006 4:33 PM  

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