Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Convention Center Inches Closer in the Legislature

Today in the Washington State Senate Ways & Means Committee had a hearing on draft legislation S-5541.1, which will turn into SB 6889. This legislation is the same as HB 3027 that is getting a fresh amendment to clarify some language in that bill.
This allows the state to keep $57 million dollars the state has taken in the past. Not passing means the state ends up in court and could lose that $57 million dollars.

Senator McDermott is championing this on the Senate side.

Watch this video from time stamp 19 minutes, 30 seconds for the complete background.

Everybody, and their brother is pushing this.
A King County Facilities District would be a very good thing for Seattle, and King County.


Peter said...

so what would be the strategy to get the athlete taxes included? do we write legislators or something? btw, i can't imagine the state starting a PFD with the power to build sports or entertainment facilites and not giving them a funding source. if they only meant for the PFD to build a convention center, that's all it would say. i get what you're saying about the hotel people having to approve the use of the tax, but if they only were going to give a funding source for the convention center they would just mention that, and not sports or entertainment facilites. i guess they could add another funding source to the bill later, but getting a funding source for the sports and entertainment faciliites would be preferred this year.

Mr Baker said...

The state has little choice in this, create a PFD, or be on the hook for giving back $57 million dollars that was taken from the Convention Center accounts over the past couple years.
This why I have been saying that the have to do this. We can ask for an arena, they have asked for a convention center, both are not a priority on the level of owing $57 million dollars that the state does not have.

So, yes, they are creating a pfd to do all of those things. The only funding sources are the hotel taxes for the convention center, and some Safeco revenue currently being used for Safeco Field.
In the future trying to fund an arena would go to the legislature for authority, taxing athletes, but the collection and management of those funds, and what they build, is the responsibility shared between the new PFD and the county.
HB 2912 type of bill, with everybody else competing for those funds, may not be needed, unless the amendment Tom attached actually happened.
Taxing athletes could be a stand alone bill next session.