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ST. PAUL-The $1.2-billion stadium bill received a setback in the Minnesota Legislature after the House Ways and Means Committee failed to pass the financing measure that would help the Twins and Vikings build new stadiums. Prior to the bill’s defeat, a major amendment changed its financing structure by directing that two-thirds of stadium costs come from liquor and car rental taxes in the metropolitan area.

Some powerful legislators view the vote as fatal for the bill. Others see the Twins’ chances improving if it can get a bill separate from the Vikings.

The changes threatened to draw opposition from Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is generally viewed a backer of stadium efforts. The amendment would extend taxes on alcoholic beverages and car rentals, both of which were set to expire at the close of 2005. Pawlenty opposes extending the taxes, preferring a tax increment financing plan and increased sales and income tax revenues at the stadium sites instead to provide the state’s share.

Last week, the tax committee narrowly passed the measure without the extended taxes, but with a variety of taxes in the host communities.

St. Paul and Minneapolis are competing for a Twins ballpark, while Blaine is the only city in the running for the Vikings football stadium. If the stadium bill passes the legislature, a new Minnesota Stadium Authority would choose one of the cities, after which a referendum would be held in the selected community.

If Minneapolis were selected, the referendum would be held in Hennepin County because county taxes would be imposed. A referendum also would be held throughout Anoka County, which wants to impose taxes for a Vikings stadium in Blaine.

If the bill somehow survives, a new Minnesota Stadium Authority would choose St. Paul or Minneapolis for a Twins ballpark, after which a referendum on local taxes would be held in the selected community.

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