Minneapolis — Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak called the last-minute bill passed by the Legislature for a new baseball stadium is "a giant step backward."
The mayor said Sunday that the bill sent to Gov. Jesse Ventura late Saturday night makes it hard for Minneapolis to retain the Minnesota Twins. It requires potential host cities to hold a referendum asking voters to authorize higher restaurant and lodging taxes for debt repayment.
It also allows two or more cities to join together in bids for the stadium site, but county participation is prohibited, which deals a severe blow to Minneapolis, where taxpayers previously voted to limit city involvement in a new stadium.
A successful referendum would lift the restriction, but Minneapolis officials have said their chance of keeping the team most likely relies on the inclusion of Hennepin County.
"Why would the Legislature turn its back on the best stadium deal for Minnesota?" Rybak said during news conference at the city's proposed downtown stadium site. "This political posturing doesn't represent the best interests of Minnesotans. It doesn't represent the best traditions of Minnesota politics."
Before the stadium bill was voted on in the House, some Minneapolis lawmakers attempted to send the stadium bill back conference committee for further discussion. But the House defeated the motion and passed the bill as it stood.