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MN Gov. Arne Carlson "is expected" to propose a dime increase in the cigarette tax to help pay for a new $354M Twins stadium, according to Robert Whereatt in the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Carlson's staff refused comment, but said the Governor would announce a funding source Thursday in his "State of the State" message to the state Legislature. The state now collects 48 cents per cigarette pack, bringing in about $177M a year. Another dime would generate about $33M more a year, according to the MN Revenue Dept (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/14). ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The Twins began their 36th annual Winter Caravan, a three week trip to "drum up interest in the team all over Minnesota and in neighboring states," according to John Millea in the STAR TRIBUNE. This year's Caravan will also "sell Minnesotans on the importance of building a new stadium" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/14).
The L.A. City Council's Ad Hoc Committee on the L.A. Arena Proposal unanimously approved a taxpayer-assisted, privately owned and operated arena project for downtown L.A., according to Jean Merl of the L.A. TIMES. A City Council vote could come as early as Wednesday. The proposal calls for the city to spend $70.5M to provide land. City officials said they expect arena revenues, which include a ticket fee, to cover the taxpayers' cost of $6.8M a-year for 25 years (L.A. TIMES, 1/14).
The Heat spent $3.7M last year to defeat a referendum against their new arena on Biscayne Bay, and now the team wants to count that money as part of the cost of building the arena, according to Don Finefrock in the MIAMI HERALD. Dade County, FL, "has said no, but the deal isn't final." But, Raul Masvidal, the county's negotiator on the arena deal, says "all major differences have been resolved," including whether to include the $3.7M in the cost of construction. Masvidal: "We said no. Plain and simple." The Heat have declined to confirm an agreement. Heat spokesperson Steve Watson: "We are still negotiating. ... We see that certainly as part of the project, we ought to share in those costs" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/14).
The NCAA men's basketball committee is "refusing to consider" the Rose Garden in Portland, OR, as a potential site for a regional NCAA tournament round due to the state's legal sports action lottery game (Portland OREGONIAN, 1/11). ...In Philadelphia, Edward Moran looks at the state's Legislative session and it's role in stadium funding in PA. Moran: "State participation in stadium development seems a long way off in the Legislature. No new bills are within sight that would authorize forming a state sports authority. No bipartisan committee to review [a state task force's] recommendations has been formed" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 1/14).