Wednesday, April 7, 2010

State Senate Drops Sales Tax from Legislation

As reported in the Seattle Times the State Senate has dropped the 1% sales tax from their budget. The Capital Record blog has done a good job of pulling different reports together, here:
Update 1: The House Democratic Caucus blog suggests that if everyone can agree on this package, special session could be wrapped up by this weekend.

Update 2: Here’s Rachel La Corte’s updated story. It indicates there could be agreement tonight.


Those updates have links, you can click them at The Capital Record, their blogger, Niki Reading, deserves the clicks.

It is the first blog that I get a feed from on the righhand side of my blog page.

24 comments:

Mr Baker said...

"Legislators won't be back on the floor until Friday but if there appears to be agreement after today's discussions, legislators will be able to wrap up votes on the package and budgets this weekend."
http://hdcadvance.blogspot.com/2010/04/were-getting-closer.html

Mr Baker said...

Here is a link to the Seattle Times where they list where the state will get the 800 million in taxes.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politicsnorthwest/2011556457_heres_the_new_800_million_tax.html?syndication=rss

look about half way down the list and you see "Convention Center". Like I have been saying, they had to pass SB 6889 for two reasons, one to get out of court on the 57 million they took in the past, and two the money they need this year to balance the budget. They show 10 million, I think it is closer to 11 or 12, maybe not.
Had the economy been a little better over the past couple years the Convention Center would still be a ward of the state, and King County would not have a new public facilities district to use some time in the future as an entity with the power and authority to build whatever we want, depending on finding a funding resource to fill the bank account.
Leving any of this to the state, county, or city governments would result in nothing happening. Hoping a private entity could have the resources, power, or ability to plant a new arena anywhere near a population center had a slightly better chance of happening than a public arena, but not much, or we would already have one.
Being able to combine the power and authority of a Public FD with a Private entity has a better chance of making something happen sooner, rather than never.

Anonymous said...

Ok, you're all over this stuff obviously. But I'm confused over the issue of the funding
source(s). Aren't the hotel taxes generated in Seattle and King County the funding source for any future developments once the convention center expansion is completed? I'm admittedly a little lost here.

Mr Baker said...

The hotel taxes the convention center uses will stay with the PFD to build more Convention Center.

The "arts" bills that are going after the Stadium taxes are more and different hotel taxes. If one of these bills passes then maybe we could get money there for the PFD to use to build something else beyond more Convention Center.

Or, we find another funding source for the PFD to use to build something beyond more Convention Center.

Either way, there will be more Convention Center space, and the power to build Convention Centers, arenas, etc, has been transferred to the PFD.

Anonymous said...

I think I understand now, but once the Convention Center expansion is funded from those taxes, I guess they will be retired? Not sure which way the political and special interest winds will be blowing by then.

Mr Baker said...

Nope, once those taxes are use for the convention center the stay with the PFD, Seattle will get it's 2% sales tax credit.
But that would be 30 years down the road.


SB 6889 was signed by the governor today.
http://www.governor.wa.gov/billaction/2010/default.asp#senate
it is is in effect in 90 days. They start to organize themselves as a seperate entity, and then the three government entities identify board members.
Good for them. Now we need to get them funding for arena use.

Peter said...

on another note, how hard would it be to get the athlete taxes next year?how much resistance should we expect to get against this idea? the news that the hornets are staying in NOLA worries me a bit that if we don't get going soon on an arena, all the teams will either already be sold or stay in their current cities. back to the athlete tax issue, it seems that if rodney tom supports giving athlete taxes to the PFD, athlete taxes should be an easy sell. one question though: does the athlete tax bill have to clearly give the PFD authority to use the money for stadiums and arenas, or would just a plain bill giving the PFD those funds be enough for a brand new arena?

Mr Baker said...

It could just be an athletes tax for sports facilities.

It is not a hard sell, the problem becomes finding enough people to care enough to vote for it. Support from the city or county would help.

Mr Baker said...

BTW, Jan Drago was there when the governor signed the bill into law.

Anonymous said...

The is a good step....A small one in my opinion but hey it's something. That just leaves 6116, 2912, and 6051. What becomes of them?

Peter said...

people say all the time that there are "plenty of NBA teams available", but the hornets being sold to local new orleans ownership worries me a bit. in the last year, three teams (Nets, Bobcats, Hornets) have either been sold to someone else or have stayed in their current cities. add to that the warriors about to be sold to ellison and i am a bit worried that by the time the PFD gets a funding source for an arena, there won't be any teams left. since i don't see expansion ever, what do we do if teams are sold at their current pace to other people? how long will it be for the PFD to get something going on an arena? and will any teams be left when they do?

Peter said...

"It is not a hard sell, the problem becomes finding enough people to care enough to vote for it."

wouldn't the fact the county or no one else would ever be back to the state for a stadium in king county be enough? the county could easily just say that they won't bother the state with an arena/stadium issue ever again, giving the state more time to focus on "more important things", with a tax that few people would object to. sounds like an easy sell to me.

Mr Baker said...

"The is a good step....A small one in my opinion but hey it's something. That just leaves 6116, 2912, and 6051. What becomes of them?"

There are plenty of other interests still wanting one of those bills to pass, just like last year, and if nothing happens right now, then next year.

Look, 4Culture will have to project its headcount out next year based on its funding. They have to plan to lay peaple off in 8 months. Everybody connected to King County government knows the situation. Securing part of the lodging tax is the 4Culture board's highest priority. They spell it out on the 4culture.org web site, they even have a page just about the lodging tax.

I really thought they would lead one of these bills through the legislature. I can not express to a meaningful degree how unhappy I am at the action of Rodney Tom's amendments to HB 2912.

The only glimmer of hope for any of those bills comes from the governor who said yesterday that she is still wanting the legislature to pass some jobs related legislation.
It is hard to point to these bills as producing a lot of jobs right away, but it is fair to say that the problems King County has are long-term and a bill like HB 2912 could help in areas where the county and city just can not step in and support.

Right now the budget negotiators are meeting, That group includes Ross Hunter on the House side, and Ed Murray on the Senate side.

Also, at the signing of SB 6889 was Fred Jarrett, Deputy County Executive, as well as Ross Hunter.

Until the Special Session actually ends there is a tiny chance for something.

Mr Baker said...

HB 2753 was signed into law by the governor, it is the Workforce Housing Program bill.
HB 2912 provides funding for that program in King County.

Frank Chopp has an interest in this, as does most King County legislators.
Hopefully that will help, we shall see.
Last year the policy bill failed, then the funding bill, this year the policy bill is law, waiting on some funding.

JAS said...

So as of right now, what does the passing of 6889 give the PFD the funding to do? Enough to renovate the Key but not build a new arena?

Peter said...

you posted this on SC:

"With a new PFD politically isolating the money, and money’s purpose, we are more likely to be able to target things like parking taxes at stadiums to be deposited into the PFD account for sports facility use."

i don't think that would even be enough for keyarena. so you're saying athlete taxes are a no go? i honestly think athlete taxes are our best bet to get an arena.

Mr Baker said...

"things like parking taxes"

parking, ticket fees, B & O athlete taxes, etc.

Peter said...

i think we may have to get going on an arena soon. back to my earlier point, if three teams stayed in their current cities in the last year, we may not have much time to get an arena passed. this isn't something they (the PFD)can drag their feet on in my book. we need quick action next year on an athlete tax for the PFD. i wonder how can we relay that to dow? is SOS still in a position to meet w/ him over the summer or something?

Peter said...

"It is not a hard sell, the problem becomes finding enough people to care enough to vote for it."

is there any way we can add an athlete tax for the PFD to a more important bill next year so we can do that? it sure worked to get authority for arenas from a bill designed for the conv center.

Mr Baker said...

"So as of right now, what does the passing of 6889 give the PFD the funding to do? Enough to renovate the Key but not build a new arena?"

it gives them funding for a Convention Center across the street from the current one so they can "load in and load out" and have a convention of some kind going all the time.

A year and a half ago the City of Seattle lobbied for 1% of the 7%. In theory that 1% is still there (the legislature was going to take that 1% back, but ended up in court).
The tanking economy will likely delay the second convention center site by a year or two, as well as (in theory) that 1%.

The 7% in Seattle is made up of 5% in actual sales tax, and a 2% sales tax credit that belongs to the City of Seattle. The city will have a limited say in what and where that tax credit is used in the future, it is to be used in the legislation, convention, tourism, and sports facilities.

I would just assume 1. collect all of the sports related taxes (not the other hotel taxes) and have those dumped into the PFD accounts.L; 2. Removed the exeration dates from those taxes (the Safeco parking tax is supposed end when the bonds are paid off, as if the facility will never need capital repair); 3. Consolidate the sports facilities into one coordinated set of assets for use, taxation, and improvement.

Mr Baker said...

"is there any way we can add an athlete tax for the PFD to a more important bill next year so we can do that? it sure worked to get authority for arenas from a bill designed for the conv center."

Yes, that would be HB 2912. Legislation has to be about one subject, you could not put that kind of amendment onto a transportation, or healthcare bill. The state constitution is pretty clear about that, just like initiatives (ask Tim Eyemann). But, every year there is some county, or city, trying to pass a community improvement bill, a tourism related bill. Some other places might not want us glomming onto their bill, potentially killing theirs (ask the 4Culture people, or Sports folks about 4Culture - right).

Mr Baker said...

Griffin also said that getting a team is the "least of our worries because teams are available."
From February, 2010
http://blog.seattlepi.com/undraftedfreeagent/archives/194343.asp

Peter, it wasn't that the team wasn't available, it was the lack of an arena that could support an NBA team that caused the Sonics to leave.

Peter said...

what i meant is if we don't get going soon on an arena, the ballmer group might run out of teams to buy to relocate to seattle.

Mr Baker said...

1/3 of the teams could be had for the right price today. That is not going to be a lower number until after the lockout is over, and the economy gets much better.

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