Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Seattle Times Newspaper: Stadium & arts tax bill dies for sixth time

This is where it is at:

"We feel like arts and heritage are being held hostage to stadiums," said Jim Kelly, executive director of 4Culture, King County's arts and culture agency.

Most legislators don't seem to have a problem with funding for the arts. But Kelly said their funding has remained tied down by its connection to the stadium fights.

"With stadiums you're damned if you do or damned if you don't," he said. "Some people, if you take the stadiums out, they won't support the bill. Other people won't vote for it if you leave the stadiums in."

Murray said he's still working the proposal to see if it can be revived in the last couple days of the session, or during the special session lawmakers now say they'll need to finish the state budget.

Story posted by Jim Brunner, at the Seattle Times

I am glad this story was reported. Poor Yakama was not even mentioned.
The motivations of Rodney Tom were communicated to me as possibly being something else. It may be both a list of every conflict connected with those taxes, and a weight holding it down.

Kelley is right though, he could not get just an arts and heritage bill passed. I think half of those amendments could be pulled back, leave out husky stadium, and I think you could find enough votes.
The fact of the matter is that if the taxes are extended then there are enough votes to ensure that the "public investment" that is Safeco Field has to be part of it. The House side stripped that stuff out.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

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Peter said...

i think the fact that we thought they were going to tax athletes to build stadiums and arenas but weren't is actually a good thing. if we brought up a bill like that in a future year, i have a hard time thinking it wouldn't pass. we later found out that that wasn't the idea, but in my opinion that is the strategy we should employ to build an new arena. they could impose b&o taxes on athletes at any time, no tax expiring to worry about. if this was the idea from the beginning of the session, i think it would fly.

JAS said...

Mr. Baker, why is it that the state legislature has so much control over taxes that are exclusive to King County? Shouldn’t the county itself have control over those?

Mr Baker said...

"Shouldn’t the county itself have control over those?"

Ross Hunter and Ed Murray say yes, others say no because they do not want any tax going on forever, or don't want tax money to pay for the things the county would spend it on if it we left up to them.
Plenty of people are still pissed off about the creation of these taxes to begin with. Some people hate sports, some hate liberal artists. Plenty of people see how King County spends money and refuse to give them a dime more without prescribing exactly what they must use it for.

There is a state sales tax credit that is part of this, they are responsible for that part.
There are not enough votes for just arts, or for the laundry list of stuff that usually gets hung on this bill.

There is no winning for just one faction.

The hotel folks have a giant tax in Seattle, and leverage, so it is very likely we will see a bill passed in the special session, or in the next session to build a convention center.
I would go right after that Public Facilities District with a much more modest tax on athletes, more like 5%, as a stand alone bill.

Mr Baker said...

There is going to be a special session, I just watched both houses pass the bill that authorizes it.

Peter said...


if a bill comes forward in a future year with money from player b&o taxes to go to stadiums and arenas, do you think it would get enough support? i think even alot of stadium critics would come out in favor of that potential solution. i actually think this is the best solution because as BR said on SC, most athletes already pay some sort of local tax in most markets, and if the're going to anyways, they might as well get something out of it.

Mr Baker said...

Yes, I mentioned that some place else, too.
That is why I see HB 3027 the bill I really need.

All of the other factions that want something from HB 2912 would support removing somebody from their potential revenue stream.

If I mention this to a few folks maybe it will stick.

Peter said...

"Yes, I mentioned that some place else, too.
That is why I see HB 3027 the bill I really need."

will house bill 3027 fund an new arena?

"All of the other factions that want something from HB 2912 would support removing somebody from their potential revenue stream."

if the tourism taxes aren't being used in hb 3027, which taxes are?

Peter said...

i noticed that they referred hb 2912 back to the house rules committee the last day of the session. could they work on it in the special session?

HB 3027 does say "to construct,remodel or maintain sports facilites." but does that include professional sports stadiums? it never says what kind of sports facilites, so i guess you could use it for keyarena, right?

Peter said...

it also says something in HB 3027 about there needing to be a public vote if these taxes are to be used.
the only way i see voters approve ANY money to ANY stadium is if the players are taxed. i don't even see money for safeco being approved by voters. i guess you could put keyarena and safeco together in the same public vote and try to get enough mariner fans to support the measure. does 3027 include the b&o athlete tax? if not, adding it to 3027 to fund stadiums and arenas is a good idea.

Mr Baker said...

All bills that are still alive were referred to Rules Committee.

All Floor Calendars have been cleared.

Sports Facilities referred to the law RCW 35.57.030, that RCW includes sports facilities. This is where the law is defined. Any bill that refers to this RCW, and funds a "Reional Center", but does not include/exclude a type of "Facility" could have its funds spent on almost anything defined in that RCW.

The vote in 3027 refers to, and limits, the hotel funds to a vote beyond anything described in the bill.
The voting power has been given to the county and the PFD board.
This keeps somebody in the future from using the funds for something else. You may notice that Seattle is being given 2% sometime in the future when the original Convention Center debt is paid off. Seattle could vote to impose that tax, and seek a sales tax credit from the state (via the county).

Those restriction refer to that hotel tax.
They do not refer to an athlete tax.

I think that a bill that taxed athletes and dumps the money into the PFD could be used for a new stadium, or arena. I think it could be done with the amendment from 2912, that revises the chapter of the RCW 82.04 (taxing authority) and gives authority to the PFD through RCW 36.100.020 to use those funds, RCW 36.100.020 is amended by... HB 3027.

The amendment only taxes athletes that make 10 times more than a public school teacher's first year base wages (storm players are off the hook, as are most Sounders, and the jr league hockey players, and the Rat City Roller Girls).

I would be thrilled to have HB 3027 pass as is, and HB 2912 with the athlete tax amendment (#316). It is both great politics, and perminent solution.
4Culture could have the county hotel tax to split with the Federal Way building.