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ST. PAUL-Just as the regular session of the Minnesota Legislature was ending, Gov. Tim Pawlenty sent a letter to legislators informing them that he is calling them back for a special session almost immediately after adjournment Tuesday. “My message to the DFL is get back to work and finish your job,” Pawlenty says.

Pawlenty was particularly concerned that the legislature accept his recent proposal for $380 million in increased revenue for schools and healthcare. The legislature is expected to take up two huge development projects during the special session–sports facilities for the Minnesota Twins baseball team and the University of Minnesota’s football team.

The largest project on the agenda is a $478-million ballpark for the Twins in Downtown Minneapolis. The team is not requesting state funding but is seeking legislative approval to allow Hennepin County help pay for it through raising its sales tax. The financing plan for the 42,000-seat stadium, which was recently approved the Hennepin County Board, would include a $125-million investment from Twins owner Carl Pohlad, with the rest coming from an additional 0.15% county sales tax.

Also on the agenda is a $235-million stadium on the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota for its Gophers football team. The legislation calls for the university to fund 60% and the state to fund 40% of the estimated cost. The 50,000-seat stadium would open in the fall of 2008 on the Minneapolis campus, across Oak Street Southeast from Williams and Mariucci arenas, the homes of basketball and men’s hockey teams.

The 32-acre site, owned mainly by the university and currently used for surface parking, is not far from where Memorial Stadium sat for 68 years before it was demolished after the Gophers began playing in the Metrodome in 1982. Both proposals appear to have a good chance of gaining approval, although they will not likely be taken up until such issues as education and healthcare, among others, are taken care of.

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