Thursday, March 4, 2010

"Hoteliers" v. Washington State Resolved?

The Substitute House Bill HB 3027 that passed out of the House Finance Committee looks as though it resolves the conflict between the hoteliers and the State of Washington.

Section 8 (e) currently reads:
(e) The execution of an agreement settling all claims in the case of Tourism Alliance, a Washington nonprofit corporation; Craig Schafer; Claridge LLC, a Washington limited liability company; R.C. Hedreen Corporation, a Washington corporation; and on behalf of taxpayers, Andrew Olsen, Amy L. Dee, Christopher M. Dee, Clipper Navigation, Inc., a Washington corporation v. State of Washington and James L. McIntire, in his official capacity as State Treasurer of the State of Washington (f) The payment or provision for payment of all fees, costs, and expenses incurred by the state of Washington and the public nonprofit corporation to effect such transfer; (g) An agreement of the public facilities district to transfer to the state on June 30, 2011, an amount equal to (i) the revenues from the tax imposed under RCW 36.100.040(5) during the state fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, plus (ii) the revenues from the tax imposed under RCW 67.40.130 during the state fiscal year ending June 30, 2011; and (h) The agreement between the state treasurer and the public facilities district, referred to in section 5(6)(c)(i).

Huh? Case was settled, the state is stripping out it's legislative authority and is transferring that power to board made up of representatives from the largest city that has 40% of the county population (currently Seattle), King County, a hotel rep, and eventually a labor rep. That board will have the power and authority for the convention center and its funds going into the future.

This bill has to pass the House, and the Senate, before the state can take back its 2% sales tax credit for the year 2011, as noted in the bill analysis:
The convention and trade center will be transferred to the new PFD when provisions are made for all of the debt and certificate of participation obligations of the state on the convention center to be redeemed, prepaid, or defeased; for the balance in the state convention and trade center operations account, the state convention and trade center account, and other accounts related to the convention center are transferred to the new PFD; for the imposition of lodging taxes by the new PFD; for transfer of the assets and liabilities of the public nonprofit corporation to the new PFD; for the execution of a settlement agreement of the court case related to the conventions center funds; for payment of fees, costs, and expenses related o the transfer; and for payment of an amount to the state equal to the value of the 2 percent sales tax credit for fiscal year 2011.

How much is that 2% for 2011?
(according to the now famous House Finance spreadsheets, here while it lasts, I save stuff like this.)

So, the county gets a new facilities district, the state gets 9.7 million dollars for "fees, costs, and expenses" that they will use to balance the state budget. And, the state ends that 2% tax credit in 2029, or when the current debt is paid off. The rest of this structure, taxing hotels for convention and trade, goes on.

Just so you get that, 2% is a tax credit, that is 9.7 million in 2011, so, what is 5% or 7% forever?
Whatcha gonna do wit all that money?
Looks like the Convention Center will get to expand. The "load in, load out" problem they have will get resolved, more frequent conventions, that will spur more heads in beds, and more beds being built.

Pass this bill, thanks.