Wednesday, October 20, 2010

2011 Legislative Session in Olympia, 4Culture, and Tourism Taxes

Less than two weeks ago I sent an email King County Executive Dow Constantine asking him to have a a priority the return of King County's tourism taxes to the control of King County. Today I received a positive response.

As Mr. Constantine reminds me, he did testify in favor of such a bill last year. His testimony was March 18th, 2009, to the Washington State Senate Ways & Means Committee to be precise. The bill was SB 6116.
You can watch the vidoe of his speech by clicking on this link here, and start watching at the 14 minute, 22 second mark. Of course, if you do that you would skip past Ross Hunter testifying in favor of the same Senate Bill over his own House Bill HB 2252. HB 2252 was overly "prescriptive".

Here was my message Mr. Constantine:
Dear Mr. Baker:
Thank you for your e-mail requesting that I advocate for 4 Culture funding during the upcoming session of the Washington Legislature.
I am a longtime supporter of arts, culture, preservation, and heritage programs and have a history of working to obtain funding for these purposes. Last year, as a County Councilmember, I traveled to Olympia to testify in favor of House Bill 6116, which would have extended King County’s local-option hotel/motel taxes and reserved a portion of the funds collected for arts and heritage. Earlier this year, I supported the latest version of this bill (HB 2192) and Deputy Executive Fred Jarrett testified in favor of its passage.
I will continue to support the use of visitor taxes to benefit programs and institutions that attract visitors to this region, including the arts, during this legislative session. I consider it a smart investment, as tourism is a major industry that benefits the entire state.
Thank you again for writing.
Dow Constantine
King County Executive

From: Michael Baker [mailto:communicate.with.mike (at )]
Sent: Friday, October 08, 2010 11:15 PM
To: kcexec ( at )
Subject: 2011 Legislative Session in Olympia, 4Culture, and Tourism Taxes
The Honorable Dow Constantine

I want you to know that I am a sports fan and that you are also a parent and a proud citizen of King County. I urge you prioritize securing 4Culture’s funding future, as well as the other arts, entertainment, and heritage funding that would benefit by King County securing its tourism taxes in the 2011 legislative session in Olympia.

Have a great day,
Michael J. Baker
Seattle, Wa
Visit me here:

I know that I can count on you during the legislative session in January to support Dow Constantine's efforts. Hopefully, Ross Hunter will be there, too.


Peter said...

why didn'tm you mention an arena in your letter to dow? on a related point, Is brian telling us to give up? When i read his post on SC, i got that feeling. The feeling that he was telling us gently that we may never get a new team. I just can`t follow the league unless we have hope for a team. Real hope. Substintive developments regarding an arena. I can wait 6 or 8 more years. I cant wait until i`m 50. (i`m 24.) if we`re never getting a new team, i just can`t bring myself to following the NBA. Ever.

JAS said...

Brian said this over at SC:

“Surely we’ll find time to talk about stealing other franchises and the politics of bringing a team back. I’m hoping for action on that as well but in the meantime I want to talk about the game.”

Doesn’t sound like he’s giving up (or telling us to).

Peter said...

just sent this message to dow:

the honorable dow constantine:

i am writing because i want you to know that i am a sports fan and an fan of arts and hertiage programs. even though i live in tacoma, i was born and raised in king county. recently, i have read about a meeting you had with people interested in bringing an NBA team back to the region:
i would like to thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to do this. even though i didn't attend, i am very interested in bringing a new team to the region. as a person who is interested in both these priorites, i am writing to urge you to work with 4culture and anyone interested by prioritizing securing the king county tourism taxes so we can make so many possibilities real and promote tourism in the county.

thank you for your time,

Peter Graef

Mr Baker said...

I was writing a letter in support of 4Culture, as far as I know they are not interested in an arena. They are interested in reliable long-term funding for arts and heritage infrastructure that would be a comparatively small portion of those taxes.

I want 4Culture to get what they need, it would not hurt any efforts for an arena, in fact, it would help get a bill passed if all of the interested parties pulled together rather than trying to pull any effort apart.

Brian isn't telling anybody to "give up". He is telling people to stop being cry babies, not the same thing as "giving up".

Peter said...

I guess i shouldn`t complain. I`ve had optimism for a while now, i guess all the negative people (sofa king and xteve) are getting to me. In regards to my letter, won`t dow have to advocate for authority for an arena as well as 4culture? I kinda included both to encourage him to go after both and let him know i support him in both.

Peter said...

How`d i do in my letter to dow? I also put a part in there on how attending sonics games and getting involved in the arts helped me deal with a childhood illness i still struggle with. Kba makes a good point on SC: assuming there is private interest, will dow act on a arena or are we just assuming he will?

Peter said...

Xteve makes a good point on SC when he says it depends on the site and amount of private money to determine whether there is a public vote on an arena or not. If the county gets the tourism taxes and the authority to build an arena, could they just pass an arena with a simple county council vote?

Peter said...

I wanna avoid a public vote if at all possible, but if the state ties the county`s hands, how could we win a public vote? The san francisco 49ers just won a vote, but it cost them something like $2 million to win it. And that was just a vote in the city of santa clara. If we have to win a county wide public vote, who`s gonna step up to get it passed? Not ballmer, or he would have done it for the key.