Saturday, January 30, 2010

Remarkably Sparse

Mr. Hunter,
Though this bill [HB 3027] in its current form is remarkably sparse, I do have the strangest feeling that I will support its eventual contents. It appears that there is a broad group of sponsors appearing on a series of bills having to do with hotel taxes. Good luck recovering the state's tax credit, and moving this ball forward.

Mike Baker
Seattle, WA
[edited with an update below]

Ok, maybe I am losing my mind, or not, but the Senate companion bill to HB 3027 is SB 6684. That bill is just as sparse, and is scheduled for Executive Session on Monday, 2/1/2010. Stay with me here, are they going to bother to have a hearing, take testimony, and, ah, put some actual text in the bill before they vote on it in Executive Session?

Feb 1  Scheduled for executive session in the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Trade & Innovation at 1:30 PM. (Subject to change)

Mmmm, let's hope they at least go through the motions.
I am wanting to know what happens to the Washington State Convention Center (they dropped "Trade" from their name last week).

[2/2/2010 edit]
SB 6684 was sent to Rules Committee, no update to the bill text. Poof!

[2/2/2010 edit]
SB 6684 was referred to Senate Ways & Means Committee, still empty, still waiting for the negotiations to spell out what will end up in this bill.

What's the big rush?

[2/3/2010 edit 2]
And then SB 6684 was set to the side, SB 6118, last year's Senate Convention Center bill, was scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Ways & Means Committee tomorrow. There is an amendment and table in the House Finance Committee electronic book.

Looks like the Convention Center will expand, after some fancy book keeping.

[2/4/2010 edit, last edit]
It looks like the "city" will, indeed, be able to apply a 2% tax on hotels, according to new Section 3 of the amended SB 6118.
Wow! So, it looks like the state takes back its tax credit, give Seattle the authority to apply and collect 2% the state was collecting. The city becomes the tax funding authority for the Convention Center expansion. It looks like we will have another Convention Center, as soon as this bill passes and the state avoids court action.


Mr Baker said...

Bob Condotta is being told to not talk about hb 2912 as the Husky Stadium bill because the bill is about more important things.

Now I know why my page hits doubled yesterday, I thought it was Ross Hunter's mother-in-law excited to see Ross get mentioned on the internet (now that she has given up the Finance Committee podcasts).
Ha, ha Ross, I may be one of the few that looks in on your committee.
Tell your mother-in-law that all the kids are watching.

Peter said...

i noticed it said in that condotta article that they didnt know how much UW was asking for. they could ask for it all to paid for by the county. we dont know.

with all this talk about a compeletely new arena, doesn't the bill specifically say "maintaining or improving existing stadiums or arenas"? i am not sure if we can get a new arena out of this bill. the only solution that will come out of this bill is keyarena.

Mr Baker said...

Yes, HB 2912 is vague. It does not support a brand new arena.

Husky Stadium was wanting around 300 million last year. They are going to go through some "value estimating" (remove the extras) and get that estimate down 50 million (roughly).
They are looking at 50% donations. So, they are hoping for 125 million.
When you look at the potential tax revenue involved it does not look impossible.

There is still a long way to go, and many intersted parties. Last year everybody found something to not like about the bill, this year people appear to be trying to just worry about their reason to pass it. That change helps everybody.

Peter said...

i thought UW was asking for 50% from the county and UW would cover the other half. there is enough language to renovate keyarena, right? i don't understand where all this talk about a brand new arena comes from. do some people really expect 100% of it to come privately? you just said hb 2912 would only renovate keyarena, not bulid a brand new one.

Mr Baker said...

The husky remodel is less than 300 million, they are looking for half of the money to come from these taxes.
Slightly less than 150, closer to 125 million of these taxes.

Ripping down KeyArena and leaving a beam in place, and building around that beam can be called a "remodel", even though it is pretty much a new arena.
I doubt they would go that far with that facility.

Unless another tax source appeared then KeyArena remodel would be the only viable option.

Another tax source from a different bill is a long shot, but possible.

Peter said...

"Another tax source from a different bill is a long shot, but possible."

would a different bill have to pass this year?

Mr Baker said...

"would a different bill have to pass this year?"

If HB 2912 passed, then yes, a different bill would have to be there as an option, if not then 2912 is the only source.

A bunch of other things would have to happen, too. It is not nearly as simple as just passing some other bill. It is a long shot at this point.

Peter said...

when do you think there will be more action on these bills? when will the vote be?

Mr Baker said...

Don't know, I will know more in the next couple days.

Peter said...

i wrote this earlier:

so you don't think the state will try to claim that this bill does not give the county authority for keyarena?

you responded:

No, the function of the legislation is to take the state out of the situation, and transfer authority to the county council and citiy councils. The limits on what the funds can be used for are spelled out in the bill.

what i was mainly worried about in that question is chopp. could he late claim keyarena is not included and stop the renovation?

Mr Baker said...

Once the legislation is passed his chance to control it is much less.
If it says arena, then it says arena.

Last year HB 2252 did not say arena, it also did not make it passed the Senate.

This year the bill is more of a Christmas tree, everybody has their ornament.

Peter said...

i noticed kohl-welles did not co-sponsor 6661, but murray did. is there any reason for this? kohl-welles was the biggest supporter for keyarena last year. it's one of the things that made me worry about keyarena being in the bill.

Mr Baker said...

Well, my guess is that nobody wants to make this bill about stadiums and arenas. That really did not help last year.

Peter said...

the language is pretty much identical to 6116, besides the specific mention of keyarena in 6116. there is no need to put that in now because the payment to the city is no longer an possibility.

Peter said...

i noticed that the media has not been covering these bills at all. is this because they are being told to stay out of it because the bills have to pass for the "more important things"?

Mr Baker said...

There is nothing to report. They likely will not report much, and not until the bills are voted out of committee.

bmac said...

when is the date they vote out of committee

Mr Baker said...

I hear that it is "soon", whatever that means.

Right now the bull in the china shop is the convention center (SB 6684, this thread).

The hotel folks are taking to state to court to prevent the state from taking from the fund. The governor vetoed that last session, but the hotel folks have had enough waiting and risk.
See the story below:

the bill texts are still blank, 6684 was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee to get filled in with whatever is being negotiated right now.

The state is taking back its 2% tax credit from that revenue stream.
I am wondering if Seattle can claim that back as part of SB 6661.

The hotel folks are not messing around.

Peter said...

"The state is taking back its 2% tax credit from that revenue stream.
I am wondering if Seattle can claim that back as part of SB 6661"
are there several ways the money could be given out where keyarena could be funded? Is there more than one potential funding source for keyarena in the bills, or is seattle claiming this funding source the only chance?

Mr Baker said...

I have no idea how or why this would help KeyArena.

Peter said...

"I have no idea how or why this would help KeyArena."

so you weren't refrencing keyarena when you talked about seattle claiming the 2 percent hotel tax?

on another note, are we gonna see some significant action by dow and/or mcginn to get this passed? if this passes, when do you see the county and/or city council vote on keyarena? having ballmer be able to go out and search for a team this summer would be ideal.

Mr Baker said...

"so you weren't refrencing keyarena when you talked about seattle claiming the 2 percent hotel tax?"

true, I was talking about that tax credit in general.

I have no idea how quickly the city council would move on Seattle Center or KeyArena

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