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New ballpark bill moves forward
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03/24/2004 11:32 AM ET
New ballpark bill moves forward
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A stadium bill that would fund a new ballpark for the Minnesota Twins survived its first test on Tuesday. After eight hours of deliberation, the House Local Government and Metropolitan Affairs Committee approved the bill without recommendation.

The bill, based on Gov. Tim Pawlenty's stadium plan and sponsored by Rep. Doug Stang (R-Cold Spring), would allow communities to levy sales, liquor and restaurant taxes and a plan to capture some in-stadium sales and income taxes. It leaves open the possibility of local referendums, but does not make them mandatory, and requires the Twins to pay 33 percent of the cost of the proposed ballpark.

The cost to the Twins, Sports Inc. President Jerry Bell said, is much larger in this bill than in previous efforts. According to Bell, the Twins would pay $210 million in rent payments over the length of the 30-year lease required in the bill, in addition to $13 million annually for stadium operation and maintenance, bringing the club's total commitment to $390 million.

"Our contribution to the stadium has gone significantly above the $120 million" that the Legislature required in a 2002 bill, Bell told The Minneapolis Star-Tribune. That 2002 bill passed but a ballpark never came to fruition.

Furthermore, the Twins would be required to cover a shortfall while owner Carl Pohlad would be required to share any profit shoud he sell the team. The bill is likely to be amended before it reaches the House and Senate floors.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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