Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Today in Television for Insomniacs

At 8 am this morning the Washington State House Committee on Finance had a meeting to take testimony and vote on bills, including HB 2912 and HB 3027.

The meeting was early enough for Rep. Ross Hunter, the Committee Chair, to quip that the online broadcast was more suited for "insomniacs".
It is also possible that by me watching the online TVW.org broadcast the number of viewers increased by 1/3.

Part 1:


Part 2:


OK, it is a bit sleep inducing.

HB 2912 is: Modifying local excise taxes in counties that have pledged lodging tax revenues for the payment of bonds prior to June 26, 1975.

Those are King County stadium taxes, a mix of stadium parking, hotel, and car rental, taxes. Yakima also applies one of the many taxes involved. Amendments to the original bill cut out funding for stadiums, arenas, Safeco Field upkeep, and tagged an extra dollar on each ticket sold at a professional football, baseball, or soccer game (welcome to big-league sports, Sounders).
That is not going to survive the senate.

HB 3027 is: Regarding the governance and financing of the Washington state convention and trade center.

This is a hotel tax applied in Seattle, on top of all the other taxes. The intent of this tax is to fund the Washington State Convention Center. The hoteliers benefit from having a convention center, the convention center benefits from the taxes on the hotels, and both benefit by being in Seattle. That last point is sometimes lost in the discussion.
There is 2% state sales tax credit, the total tax revenue is 7%.

This bill, in its current form, would have the state take back the 2% sales tax credit that the convention center uses in its current funding structure. That taking back, un-sharing, could result in the hoteliers taking the State to court. That tax was created for a particular reason, and the state constitution is pretty clear about creating special funds with specific taxes and not allowing the state to raid them (again).

I am sure a deal can be worked out to get the tax credit back to the state, and allow the hoteliers to keep taxing themselves to pay for a convention center expantion. I do remember, I think, Ross Hunter saying last year that there was not enough money to slice off 1% to pay for a KeyArena remodel AND allow the state to take back 1% of the state sales tax credit.

Sooooooo, you, Ross Hunter, may have provided evidence for the hoteliers that they could use against the state in a court of law.
Just sayin'.

Anyway, I am sure things will all work out in the end, or on the House Floor, or in the Senate Ways and Means Committee (maybe Mr. Hunter can testify in favor of the substitute senate bill again), or maybe it can be fixed on the Senate floor.

This does appear unusually difficult right now, but at least the bills have been passed out of the House Committee.

Why were these bills passed with these amendments Mr. Hunter?
From: "Hunter, Rep. Ross"
Date: February 9, 2010 5:13:51 PM PST
To: Mr Baker
Subject: RE: HB 2912 & HB 3027

The amendments were required to have the votes to move the bill out of committee. Without the amendments the bill would have died. I did not have the votes to hold the clause.

Rep. Ross Hunter
Finance Committee Chairman
Hunter.ross@leg.wa.gov

Bellevue Office: (425) 453-3064 (until January)
Olympia Office: (360) 786-7936 (January - May)


Well hopefully this will get straightened out on the Senate side.

And thanks to all of you legislators for putting up with people like me, doing what you have to do when moving the ball forward.

Have an excellent day,
Mike Baker
Insomniac

37 comments:

Peter said...

so there is enough support for arenas/stadiums in the full house, not the committee? are the stadium/arena parts gonna be put back in later? does this bill need to pass both the house and senate with the stadium/arena language? i heard husky stadium made the cut, but safeco and keyarena did not. am i right?

Peter said...

i hope ross meant that there wasn't enough support for the stadium/arena language JUST in the finance committee. if he meant the whole house, we are done.

Mr Baker said...

Not enough support in the Finance Committee. Last year's Senate bill, somebody else told me, would have been accepted by the Full House.

They were heading down a dual path, now it looks like this will have to get resolved on the Senate side.

Anonymous said...

What's the latest on SB6661?

Mr Baker said...

SB 6661 was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee about 10 days ago, but it has not been accepted yet, it is not in their electronic bill book online yet.
I would think that this is a problem except that the list of bills that failed to make it out of non-budget committees did not include this bill. So, it lives, in limbo.

I have to wonder if they can skip SB6661 and re-introduce SB 6116 to the Senate Floor, amend the specific Clay Bennett language out of the bill and insert the workforce housing language. That is pretty much what SB 6661 would look like coming out of the Senate committee.

I'll ask around.

Peter said...

i thought you said that last year'
s senate bill would have been accepted by the full house, but you seem like the entire house is against it on SC. did you mean the bill with the "stadiums and arenas" part? another thing you posted on SC:

"Btw, a stadium bill that does not fund the stadium will not pass the senate dems or republicans."

Does this mean husky stadium AND keyarena?

Mr Baker said...

The house finance committee passed this bill two years in a row.
The full House would have accepted something closer to SB 6116.
If the Senate does anything with this it will involve putting Safeco Field back in, stadiums and arenas.

My understanding is that last year's SB 6116 would have passed the full House had it passed out of the Senate.
If does not have to go back through the finance committed.

Peter said...

"If the Senate does anything with this it will involve putting Safeco Field back in, stadiums and arenas."

if we can't at least get safeco and keyarena included i say kill the bill and let the taxes expire.

Peter said...

won't the senate NOT accept a bill without stadiums and arenas? that's what you said in the topic.

Peter said...

maybe it just because i'm bitter, but if the consquences of this bill passing as is is the mariners potentially leaving, screw the bill. kill it. if they can't accept that everyone gets something out of this bill, nobody deserves anything. if the bill goes to dow's desk as is, he should veto it.

Peter said...

"That is not going to survive the senate."

"If the Senate does anything with this it will involve putting Safeco Field back in, stadiums and arenas."

can you explain these two statements? first you say the senate won't accept a bill without the stadium/arena language, than you imply that the senate might?

sorry about the last two posts, i was just venting because i was pondering the potential loss of the mariners from passing the house bill as is. can you tell i get paranoid?

Anonymous said...

yes

Mr Baker said...

The senate will take the bill and substitute is with their own bill, or amend the language back into it.

In order to make a law both side must agree that there should be a law (they both pass bills), and in the end they must accept the final bill.

Last year HB 2252 was just like this bill. It passed the Finance Committee and passes the House floor - over to the Senate to "confirm" and agree to the proposed change in law.
The Senate (last year it was the Ways and Means Committee) accepts the house bill. They could have just accepted it and voted to confirm that they agree, but they didn't. They could have amended that bill and put stadiums and arenas into it, but they didn't. They chose to pass out of committee the Senate's version of that bill, SB 6116. That bill failed to pass the full Senate. Had that bill passed, or the amended HB 2252, then the full House would have to vote again to accept or reject the Senate's version.

Look up HB 2252 and you will see its path from the House to its eventual death in the Senate Ways and Means Committee, where it was substituted by another bill.
That is the likely path HB 2912 will take.

This is the legislative process.
On the national level, the US House passed its version of the healthcare bill first. The US Senate eventually passed its version that was different. The House could accept or reject the Senate's vertion, or amend it and send it back to the Senate to vote on it as amended by the US House.

If you go back almost a year on SC and read the comments from when HB 2252 was passed you will see the same comments as you do with HB 2912.

Mr Baker said...

Mmmm my guess is that the bill will get amended by the Senate, or substituted to put Safeco back in it, or they could let the bill and the taxes expire. If they let it expire they would have to come back next year with a new bill and try again, hopefull all of the laws and bonds are not closed.
I just don't see the House version of this ever becoming law, something else will have to pass.

Peter said...

you posted these on sc:
"Btw, a stadium bill that does not fund the stadium will not pass the senate dems or republicans."

do you mean keyarena? how hard would it be to pass something next year for keyarena?

what do you think of all this talk on sc about a completely private arena? i just don't see it happening.

sorry about last night's posts, i was on cold medicine.

Peter said...

"I just don't see the House version of this ever becoming law, something else will have to pass."

yeah, but do you think the senate will put safeco and keyarena back in the bill? i like the idea of the senate putting all the stadiums and arenas back in and telling the house to "take it or leave it, but how will chopp act to that?

Mr Baker said...

How badly does Frank Chopp want workforce housing?

I don't know but there is a way to find out, pass the bill with stadiums and arenas in it, let him tell his followers "no".

Peter said...

"I have to wonder if they can skip SB6661 and re-introduce SB 6116 to the Senate Floor, amend the specific Clay Bennett language out of the bill and insert the workforce housing language. That is pretty much what SB 6661 would look like coming out of the Senate committee."


do you think the senate has already caught your drift, with 6116 being reintroduced this session?

Peter said...

i could be wrong, but the lack of action on the senate side worries me. when do you think there will be action on the senate side? i noticed the house bill was referred for another reading. do you think the house will change it again before they vote on it if there is enough support in the full house? they could always refer it to a more favorable committee.

Mr Baker said...

Placed on Second Reading (and Third Reading) is the bill being place on the Floor for scheduling for debate amendments and votes.
I saw that too, but it has not yet appeared on the online list.
Loom here for it to show up, and next to the number is either a letter code or # that links to a floor amendment.

http://flooractivityext.leg.wa.gov/default.aspx?chamber=3

if somebody posts an amendment you can see it linked on that page. Then they have to debate and vote on all amendments, then on the final bill.

The Senate has the same kind of list.

Getting a bill out of Rule Committee is a good sign for a bill. It is pretty much a black hole, the committee pretty much chooses which bills will go to the floor and when.

Ilwhen this bill passes the House that is when the Senate will most likely take action.

Mr Baker said...

And as I look at the Senate Floor Report I see SB 6051, arts and heritage funding.


http://flooractivityext.leg.wa.gov/default.aspx?chamber=7

that is actually a good thing, it is really vague.
If both pass, they are different enough that they would have to be reconciled (that is a point where amnendment from the House can be taken back out.

http://flooractivityext.leg.wa.gov/default.aspx?chamber=7

so, we want both bills that are on their respective Floors to pass.

Peter said...

does 6051 do anything for keyarena? from what i heard, i think they could use it for safeco.

Peter said...

so 6051 and 2912 would be reconciled, with the stadium and arena language put back in, to make a final bill both the senate and house will vote on?

Peter said...

"that is a point where amnendment from the House can be taken back out."

what is the likelyhood that safeco and/or husky will pass and keyarena will be left out? dosen't it have to say "arenas" for BOA and showare center, even if keyarena wasn't included?

Mr Baker said...

Well, SB 6051 says nothing about workforce housing, it looks like it pretty much pushes out the date the hotel tax expires.

To reconcile these two bills just about anything could be added into the Senate Bill, or anything stricken back out of the House Bill.
Whatever the compromise would be would have to pass both floors in the same floor.

I don't know, I don't know if anybody knows right now.
I would rather had them use SB 6116, but a more vague bill might have a better chance of both passing, and sending control to the county and city level.

Mr Baker said...

"Whatever the compromise would be would have to pass both floors in the same floor."
That should say: Whatever the compromise would be would have to pass both floors in the same florm.

Peter said...

so 6661 is dead?

Peter said...

"Placed on Second Reading (and Third Reading) is the bill being place on the Floor for scheduling for debate amendments and votes."

"Last year's Senate bill, somebody else told me, would have been accepted by the Full House."


so if you're right and there is enough support in the full house, the house can amend the bill to put the stadiums and arenas back in?

"Well, SB 6051 says nothing about workforce housing, it looks like it pretty much pushes out the date the hotel tax expires."

i saw in 6051 that it did mention safeco. does that bill include safeco? is the bill descriptive enough for keyarena?

Mr Baker said...

SB 6661 is not dead, but it is not being used. Looks like the bill being used is SB 6051

Mr Baker said...

I'll write something up later tonight on last year's bills vs this year, and hopefully make a meaningful argument for all of these things everybody wants from these resources.

When I go back and read the substitute HB 2912 it DOES extend the Safeco 10% parking tax to fund Safeco Field. The amendments did not quite read that way, so I have to wonder if there was a logical conflict between two amendments, or the underlying law. I don't know.

Peter said...

you would think the hotel/restaurant/ people wouldn't support a bill that doesn't have something in it for them, right? restaurants and hotels definitly would not get any benefit from the current house bill. i know dow has talked about stadiums and arenas "directly supporting the restaurant business."

Peter said...

"Looks like the bill being used is SB 6051."

what worries me is that 6661 has the stadium/arena language in it, but 6051 does not. are they really gonna rely on the house to take the admendment taking the stadiums/arenas out?

Peter said...

it should say:
are they really gonna rely on the house to take the admendment taking the stadiums/arenas out out?

Mr Baker said...

I do not know what they will do.

It becomes more likely that a private arena is built if legislation fails, making KeyArena obsolete.

Mr Baker said...

I am going to hold off writing another story until I see HB2912 pass the House. It will likely pass first, I would like to see if there are any meaningful floor amendments (not that I am expecting anything). Rep Orcut has proposed the usual "end the tax" amendments he failled to get support for in committee this year or last year (get clue).

Peter said...

"I would like to see if there are any meaningful floor amendments (not that I am expecting anything)."

so it is possible, if there is enough support in the house, for an floor admendment to take the stadiums/arenas admendment out? with no admendment and/or no adding of stadiums/arenas back in to the senate bill, the house is the last place it can happen.

Anonymous said...

mr. b, tried to follow the story on sos site, but got lost in the other issues. can you give me a short and sweet rundown of where we are on the bill(s)? as always, thanks for staying on top of things.

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