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A MODEST PROPOSAL FOR THE TWINS AND BEYOND
Published March 1, 1996
Calling the push to hold a referendum on a new Twins $250M retractable-domed stadium "going, going, and nearly gone," Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE offers his own "hypothetical proposal" to resolve the financial hurdles facing the club and public officials. Weiner's "Omnibus Sports and Cultural Bill" attempts to "stymie anti-pro sports sentiment" and "ensure the retention of the Twins and Vikings in a volatile national pro sports environment" by tying a stadium deal to funding for the arts, school sports, ice rinks and seed money to attract a new NHL team to the Twin Cities. It also involves a public offering for Twins stock and a one-third public stake in the new facility. DETAILS: Under the plan, the public, team and private sector would each contribute a minimum of $85M to be obtained through a series of funding sources including an 18-month, half- cent sales tax increase, liquidation of Metrodome reserves, sale of Met Center land, matching grants from the State Arts Board, and the sale of luxury suites, club seating and naming rights. Once the deal is struck, Weiner feels there would be "newfound economies" to use to attract an NHL team back and fund public youth programs. PUBLIC REBATES: Weiner also proposes any appreciation of the Twins' value from moving into a new stadium be split between the club and the public, with the public share "spun off" into a stock offering. Fans would also be rewarded for high attendance, with $1 on every ticket above 2.75 million going to the general fund (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/29).