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Target is latest snag in stadium financing

Now Target is a snag in the do-over plan to compensate for the e-pulltab plan. At MPR, Tim Nelson explains: “Senate tax chair Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, says lawmakers are rethinking the 10 to 13 percent tax on jerseys, bats, balls, gloves, shoes, trading cards and all manner of other sports-themed products, even children’s onezies and dresses, like these at SuperTarget. ‘Target brings all their memorabilia in to Minnesota that they distribute across the whole country,’ Skoe said Tuesday. ‘The tax is implemented at the wholesale level, so it would impact all of that. So we’re concerned about all of that.’ … Skoe said the Senate tax committee is weighing options. He isn’t sure now whether the state needs to dedicate revenue to the stadium bonds — they’re funded out of the general fund anyway. The state will likely have to pay about $30 million a year in debt service.” So give Target a concession to sell e-pulltab machines at every store in the country …

The promise is that the city is on the hook for only $65 million … Stribbers Eric Roper and Janet Moore report on the big downtown east development plan linked to the Vikings stadium. “The five-block area, now owned by the Star Tribune, would become home to two, 20-story office towers spanning 1.2 million square feet of space, Ryan Cos. said in a proposal released Tuesday. In addition, 300 residential units and retail stores will be part of the development. … The city’s end of the bargain involves borrowing $65 million to fund a parking ramp and an 8.9-acre park ... The bonds, contingent on City Council approval, would be tied to the full faith and credit of the city, but Ryan will guarantee payments for the first 10 years ... After that, the city says the money would be repaid by revenue from three ramps and potential dollars from the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which is overseeing the stadium development.”

Hamline student Taylor Brorby makes it to The Huffington Post with his reaction to the state’s gay marriage law: “I spent my childhood growing up wandering through wheat fields and along the creek that flowed behind our backyard in rural North Dakota. I grew up painting, playing baseball, and fishing with my grandpa. I grew up with a sense of place and a sense of myself. Eventually I realized I wasn't like the other boys in my class. … Even as I write this I am moved to tears. Why did I say my viewpoint was humbled? It was humbled because for so long I have viewed this as a fight, a fight that sometimes makes me lament the broken world I live in, a fight that leaves me frustrated, angry, and sad that there are people that I will never meet who think I am less than them. I am humbled because when the vote was announced, and when we knew it passed, I said, "I want to know who voted for our side." A lesbian in front of me turned around and said, "Honey, we're all on the same side now." That is humbling. I am not naive enough to know that the passing of this legislation makes everything sunshine and rainbows, of course it doesn't. What I hope it does is bear witness to young people that there is a future here for them in Minnesota.”

Good piece by Patrick Condon at the AP on the long fights of Karen Clark and Scott Dibble: “Watching over Dayton’s shoulder as he signed the bill were the measure’s two chief sponsors, Rep. Karen Clark and Sen. Scott Dibble. For them, it was vindication for a long and sometimes demoralizing struggle for gay rights. … The longest-serving openly gay lawmaker in the country, Clark, 67, had already been out of the closet for a decade when she was elected to the Legislature in 1980. She grew up on a farm in Rock County, in the state’s southwestern corner, and came out to her parents, now both dead, in her mid-20s. ‘The very first thing my mother said was, ‘I will always love you,’ Clark recalled. In 1993, her by-then elderly parents marched with her in the Minneapolis gay pride parade a few weeks after she led the effort to extend Minnesota’s civil rights protections to gay people. … Dibble, 47, graduated from high school in the Minneapolis suburb of Apple Valley and came out in college. He cut his teeth politically in the late 1980s as a member of the Minnesota chapter of ACT UP, a gay civil rights group that engaged in civil disobedience out of anger toward government neglect of AIDS and HIV sufferers. He got an early chance to join the establishment from Clark, who tapped him to run one of her re-election campaigns. ‘I pulled him from street politics,’ she said.”

The GleanAt The Christian Science Monitor, Warren Richey says: “While it is clear that gay-rights advocates are enjoying significant momentum and historic victories, it is not at all clear how these recent successes will be perceived by the justices at the high court. Some analysts see the recent events as helpful to the cause of gay rights ... In one possible scenario, the rising tide of public opinion and state laws favoring equal rights for gay men and lesbians may embolden Justice Anthony Kennedy, a potential swing vote, to join the court’s liberal wing in providing special legal protections for gay Americans like those that cover African-Americans, Latinos, and women. On the other hand, the recent successes might also convince Justice Kennedy and/or other justices that the political process – and democracy itself – is an engine of change sufficient enough to guarantee the rights of gay Americans.” I'll bet on the latter.

Overshadowed by the gay marriage hoopla … Elizabeth Baier and Stephanie Hemphill of MPR write: “Lawmakers have agreed to create a new Department of Natural Resources permit for companies hoping to mine silica sand in certain sensitive areas in southeastern Minnesota, said Sen. Matt Schmit, DFL-Red Wing. Schmit said the regulations will be part of the spending bill that covers natural resources, the environment and agriculture. Schmit and DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr had been pushing to prohibit sand mining within one mile of a trout stream or spring in the ‘Paleozoic Plateau Ecological Section’ of the state, which includes Dakota, Goodhue, Houston, Fillmore, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona counties. The compromise expected to gain conference committee approval would instead require a hydrological study and DNR permit for any mine within a mile of a trout stream but not springs, Schmit said.”

Similarly … The AP says: “A long-awaited environmental report on the first proposed copper-nickel mine for northeastern Minnesota has been released to state, federal and tribal agencies for review. The initial environmental impact statement for the PolyMet mine was released in 2009, but the federal Environmental Protection Agency called it inadequate. PolyMet announced the completion of the updated version Monday. PolyMet wants to operate Minnesota's first copper-nickel mine — a $600 million open-pit mine near Babbitt and a processing center at the old LTV taconite mine north of Hoyt Lakes. Officials estimate the project would create about 350 jobs for more than 20 years, plus extensive spinoff business. The mine also would produce gold, platinum and palladium. Similar projects are expected to follow, including the proposed Twin Metals mine near Ely.”

And also … Brian Bakst at the AP says: “A significantly scaled-back plan to revise Minnesota's gun laws advanced toward a final Senate vote after receiving the blessing Tuesday, May 14, of a gun-rights group. The proposal was revised to remove language that could be construed as requiring expanded background checks or limitations on lawful gun ownership. The sponsor also abandoned a section of the bill that would have put more ‘crimes of violence’ on a state list of offenses that make a person ineligible to own a gun in the future. As it stands now, the bill fills gaps in databases consulted in present gun background checks by including court records from longer ago. It cleared the Senate Finance Committee, its last stop, by a 15-2 margin.”

Well, they are pretty territorial … Sam Cook of the Duluth News Tribune reports: “Two adult bald eagles made an unplanned landing on the tarmac at the Duluth International Airport on Sunday. The two birds had locked talons in mid-air and couldn’t get separated before they crashed to the concrete, said Randy Hanzal, a conservation officer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Both birds survived the fall but remained entangled. … Julie Ponder of the Raptor Center said the prognosis of the eagle is good despite the fact that it had some deep puncture wounds in its leg and one deep abdominal puncture. It can be difficult to differentiate between male and female eagles, and Ponder said she couldn’t be sure in this case. Mid-air battles between eagles aren’t uncommon, said Frank Nicoletti, director of banding at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory in Duluth. An eagle, usually a sub-adult, will wander into the territory of a pair of breeding eagles, he said.” Give me a minute to whip up a metaphor here …

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Comments (2)

Oh, boy !! Here we go again.

"...the money would be repaid by revenue from three ramps and potential dollars from the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority"

Ryan: Give us the money now, and don't worry. Even though we want out, BIG TIME, in 10 years, it's not because we see any problems coming up - no, it's a terrific investment - not for us, but for YOU ! And after all the people you've let into the public coffers to root around all they want, isn't it a little late to protest your chastity ? And for a lousy $65 million ? Ha !

I think the "wholesale issue" is a red herring

Target, like any other large corporation, has very sophisticated information management systems. They know where their products are distributed and it would be easy for them to pay the special tax solely on sports trinkets sold in-state. They just don't want to.

It's quite routine for the MN Dept of Revenue to accept - and to verify via audits - various types of corporate self-assessment, especially in the sales and use tax category. Lawmakers and their staffers must know this and if they cave once again to Target, it's not because the proposal was unworkable.