St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, Senator Sandy Pappas, State Capital, Soccer Bill

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Senator Sandy Pappas talk to media about soccer stadium bill. Photo by Brian Quarstad.

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Minnesota United Stadium Bill Moves Forward in Senate

by on 10 May 2016

With only 13 days left in the 2016 Legislative Session, the Minnesota State Senate has started moving forward on the Minnesota United stadium bill. The team, along with the City of St. Paul, held a press event on Monday on the plaza of the State Senate Building. With United players juggling balls and the state capital in the background, Mayor Chris Coleman and Senator Sandy Pappas (D-St.Paul), announced that the bill will likely make it’s way to the floor yet this week.

“We need to get this done in the next couple of weeks,” said Coleman. “We need to bring this home.”

Papas said the bill was released to the public from the Senate Taxes Committee on Monday morning. On Tuesday, it will be taken up by that same committee and voted on. She expressed optimism on the measure passing since it will be combined with an outstate issue that would create a special tax district in Cloquet and TIF districts for five other communities. Once passed through the Taxes Committee it would hit the floor of the Senate where Papas said she believed it would get voted on by the end of the week.

If the bill is passed on the floor of the Senate, it would then be eligible for the Conference Committee which is made up of members of the State House and Senate. Because the Conference Committee never passed an omnibus tax bill in 2015, that committee remains open. Once they resume meeting (presumably next week) the small omnibus bill would be eligible to be heard.

There did seem to be one minor hiccup. So far the only portion of the measure that was included was the property tax exemption. The sales tax exemption on construction materials which was also requested by Minnesota United was absent from the bill that was released to the Taxes Committee. “We’re just trying to figure out right now why that’s missing,” said Pappas. “I was just talking to Senator [Ann] Rest [Vice Chair Taxes Committee] about that. We just have to have further discussions about that. You know this is a moving process.”

Minnesota United players juggle the ball in the shadow of the State Capital. Photo by Brian Quarstad.

Minnesota United players juggle the ball in the shadow of the State Capital. Photo by Brian Quarstad.

Papas explained that the liquor provision of the bill was a separate matter and didn’t believe they would have difficulty passing that either.”We have a separate strategy for that,” said Pappas.

Brent Kallman, the only Minnesota born player on the team, believes that MLS in the Twin Cities with their very own soccer stadium will influence the development of youth players. “Having the highest level [of soccer] around, right here in the city, is going to draw even more kids to the game. It would have pulled me in even quicker. I’m a Minnesota boy through and through and I want to be a part of this. That’s what I’m working toward right now,” Kallman said.

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