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NBA attorneys will testify today in Olympia, WA, "against the portion of the Seahawk stadium-financing plan that would tax sports memorabilia and apparel licensed by the NBA," according to Robert Nelson of the SEATTLE TIMES. Chris Brienza, NBA Dir of Media Relations: "We don't understand why the NBA is being asked to pay for a football stadium." The publicly funded portion of the stadium plan will be the subject of two hearings today. NBA Chief Legal Office Jeffrey Mishkin is one of two league officials who will testify. Saturday, he called the proposed 10% wholesale tax on licensed, logo-bearing merchandise "simply unfair." Mishkin: "Our basic position here is that we cannot understand why the NBA should be asked to pay for a public project we did not ask for and will not benefit from." One official said the league's attorneys "will not comment on the rest of the plan or the wisdom of using public money to finance it." The TIMES' Nelson reports that one of the NBA's "concerns" is that the 10% surcharge "would make it more difficult for league-sanctioned apparel to compete in price against clothing sold by Polo, Nike and other manufacturers" (SEATTLE TIMES, 3/1).
In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman reports there "are strong indications that the state Legislature will not approve the $51 million St. Paul needs to remodel the Civic Center to get an NHL team. If not, look for the Minneapolis City Counsel to come up with a new financial plan for the Target Center," to make room for the T'Wolves and a new NHL team to play there (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/2)....The STAR TRIBUNE's Jay Weiner examines the Twins' ballpark deal with the state owning 49% of the team: "Aside from the philosophical arguments are the complex financial questions about whether such an arrangement is a good investment. The answers have much to do with the future appreciation of baseball teams" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/1)....The MLB Giants have asked permission to increase prices this season on about 20% on food and drinks at Candlestick Park. S.F.'s Recreation and Park Commission "must consider the request -- made by the Giants on behalf of its concessionaire, Volume Services. Under city policy, the request must be granted as long as it is 'reasonable'" (S.F. EXAMINER, 3/1).