Thursday, February 18, 2010

HB 2912, Refered to Senate Ways and Means Committee

HB 2912 a bill for "Modifying local excise taxes in counties that have pledged lodging tax revenues for the payment of bonds prior to June 26, 1975." passed the House side of the Washington State Legislature on February 16, 2010.
On February 18, 2010, the bill was referred in the Senate to the Way and Means Committee.

Here is the message I sent yesterday to Washington State Senator Ed Murray:

  HB 2753, SB 6589, HB 2912 in their current form
MESSAGE:   Senator Murray, 
I do not support HB 2753/SB 6589, and HB 2912 in their current forM. 
As you may know HB 2912 passed the House with a variety of amendments that restrict the county from using the authority from the bill for all potential tourism promotion uses. It also fails to support Safeco Field, potentially setting it on a course similar to that of KeyArena. It also fails to full support Seattle Center and its KeyArena. 

In HB 2912, page 6, line 6, it refers to the Workforce Housing bill HB 2753. HB 2753 and its companion bill SB 6589 were referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee. I can not support the underlying bill in HB 2912, HB 2753, until I see support for Safeco Field maintenance, and Seattle Center's KeyArena. 

I am hoping that the overly prescriptive amendments added to HB 2912 are stripped out of the final bill.  

I am hopeful that Seattle Center, and its KeyArena, would be concidered a "regional center" in HB 2912. 
There still isn't a major tenant that regularly fills the upper bowl of that facility, and the rest of the site is looking to move forward on the site master plan. It just seams incomplete, and less attractive of an effort, without resolving KeyArena  
I would happy to have the arts and heritage funding source, as well as the millions of dollars going to workforce housing. There is no way the county can support any of that  anytime soon, on their own. 

I hope we can all participate and benefit. 

Last year HB 2252 had a similar housing provision in it that was also tied to another House Bill (I have forgotten the bill number, I'll post it later). the housing bill last year failed to make it out of House side, and HB 2252 was substituted by SB 6116.

Let's see what happens this year.


Peter said...

do you hear back from murray? on another note, if you look at SB 6051, it refrences an house bill, 2051. HB 2912 was referred to the senate as SHB 2912.are these two seperate bills?

Mr Baker said...

Yes, they are seperate bills. SB 6051 would just extend the current hotel tax for arts and heritage etc. BTW, that bill will get a hearing in the House Finance Committee on Tuesday. I think they are covering all of their bases. If 2912 fails then maybe they can push the date out using a simplified bill like SB 6051.

I did not hear back from Mr. Murray, I did not request an answer from him. He is a busy guy.

This is very similar to last year. The difference is that the simplified bills actually passed, and the underlying workforce housing bill passed (that now depends on HB 2912).
This will come back to the Senate Ways and Means Committee to get a passible bill. They are going to want to put more in it, and strip out some of the House restrictions. They completely substituted last year's HB 2252, with Ross Hunter testifying in favor of SB 6116.
Each side of the legislature is very different in that way.

Peter said...

we need to at least include safeco in the bill. another saga like the sonics one in seattle would be embarassing to seattle. key arena would be a plus. i am wondering if maybe dropping husky stadium from consideration in the senate would maybe make inroads with the house when it comes to safeco and potentially keyarena? i just a little spooked by kohl-welles's statement to me about 6051 that their "wasn't any will" to go further w/ that bill. i do think if there is any will to amend 2912 the senate should set up a potential "take it or leave it moment" with the house having to accept the key/safeco funds or letting the bill die. i get what you're saying in that if 2912 dies over amendments the house can't agree on then the just could pass 6051 and punt the desicion to a further year but i am concerned about how long ballmer will stay in if we tell him "no" again this year.

Peter said...

if this bill passes, are the hotel, car rental and restaurant taxes all gonna be extended, or will some of them expire?

Mr Baker said...

Just about every bill has the restuarant taxes ending in 2015 or sooner.

There is a real desire to end the sales tax credit the county gets that matches the hotel tax.
This is true of these county bills as it is 3027 Convention Center bill. That bill is a different story, the hotelers are negotiating a settlement with the legislature over their attempt to take back the sales tax early. There was a "work session" today in the House Finance Committee.

Peter said...

so if they don't pass 2912 because the house can't agree on the final bill, they just can pass 6051 and extend the taxes and try again for safeco and key arena later?

Peter said...

if it gets put back in, will there be enough money for key/safeco and/or husky stadium w/ the restaurant taxes ending?

Mr Baker said...

"so if they don't pass 2912 because the house can't agree on the final bill, they just can pass 6051 and extend the taxes and try again for safeco and key arena later?"

as the bill is, yes. The bill is in the House Finance Committee. It could get amended like 2912, or, they could limit the bill to just extending the taxes.

"if it gets put back in, will there be enough money for key/safeco and/or husky stadium w/ the restaurant taxes ending?"

the removal of the sales tax credit puts husky stadium at risk, but the other stuff could get covered, I am not sure. The bell was amended on the House Floor but the fiscal note was not updated. The Senate should update that before the committee has a hearing. So, I am unsure right now.

Peter said...

"the removal of the sales tax credit puts husky stadium at risk, but the other stuff could get covered"

for keyarena to be covered, the city would have to uphold the ticket taxes offer, right?
if the current bill cannot fund keyarena/safeco, what is the likelyhood that the senate will put some more funding sources in the bill, like keeping some but not all sales tax credits? if they extend the taxes but not pass 2912 will they likely try for keyarena/safeco later? if house/senate can't agree on the final bill of 2912, will it likely be because the senate put the stadiums/arenas part back in?

Mr Baker said...

The parking tax is still in the text of the bill. That would provide some help to Safeco, but it is nowhere near enough money to use to build/rebuild an arena.

At this point it is the inclusion or exclusion of "arena" and "stadiums" in general that matters.

Ed Murray made it clear that he would rather get the bill passed without Husky Stadium if that is what it takes. This year may be different, I don't know.

The Senate is, in general, less inclined to pass a bill that draws on tourist taxes without a clear benefit to tourism promotion. I think we should just see what the Ways and Means Committee passes.
I do know that Ed Murray and Frank Chopp had a town hall meeting in their legislative district today. I did not attend. I am looking for any report on it right now.

Peter said...

"At this point it is the inclusion or exclusion of "arena" and "stadiums" in general that matters."

if they just pass something saying "stadiums", would that be enough to fund the keyarena renovation?

Mr Baker said...

Reports are that SB 6051 has a lot of support, but needs an amendment to add workforce housing.

If you read page 6, section (i), I think this bill could work, actually. I guess that if they add HB 2753 housing bill reference and they don't strip out that section (i) then this might work.
We shall see next week.

Mr Baker said...

see here.
You could fund almost anything with section (i).

Peter said...

"As used in this section, "tourism promotion" includes
activities intended to attract visitors for overnight stays, arts,
heritage, and cultural events, and recreational, professional, and
amateur sports events."

you mean this? it says "activities" i don't think that would be enough for keyarena.
btw, this is what kohl-welles told me in an e-mail about 6051:

"Peter, unfortunately the bill pertains to arts and heritage programs only. There’s just not the will to go further.”

Peter said...

so the senate isn't even gonna try w/ 2912? is it dead or something?
i thought you said that they were "covering their bases" with 6051. according to kohl-welles, 6051 ONLY funds arts and heritage programs.

Mr Baker said...

My guess is that HB 2912 will get a a hearing pretty soon.

The House will have to rework SB 6051 to get workforce housing into it.

Peter said...

if kohl-welles told me that about 6051 in an email, what do you think that means for 2912? you could be right in that they are "covering their bases" w/ 6051.

Peter said...

will we even see a hearing in the senate on 2912? they already moved on 6051, the house had a hearing today. looks like they’re just gonna extend the taxes with 6051, and try again for the stadiums/arenas next year.

Mr Baker said...

They had a hearing on SB 6051. The Senate failed to extend the date the tax expires for Yakama County, so they can not just accept the bill as-is, they have to amend it and pass it back to the Senate to vote to concur on the Senate Floor. It will get amendments coming out of committee, and on the House Floor.
Senate Ways and Means has state tax and budget bills to hear and pass over the next few days. Then you might see HB 2912 get a hearing and vote after that. SB 6116 got out of committee late last session, too.

Hard to say just how different these bills will be at the end.

The workforce bill got a hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee yesterday, it doesn't have money from either bill yet.

Peter said...

If they pass 6051 but not 2912, they can try again next year for keyarena/safeco? is that one of the purposes for 6051, sort of a stopgap to make sure they have a chance to do the stadiums/arenas later? btw, what do you think of my postings on SC?

i think when the economy is much better, there will eventually be a arena. i just don't see a 100 percent private arena though.

Peter said...

when are we gonna see a new topic?

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