Saturday, May 28, 2011

Green and Gold Community Coalition

This is what is next, a modern multipurpose arena in King County.

Why?
The outside sports and entertainment venues are covered. The inside theater infrastructure is covered, but the larger scale sports and entertainment is lacking.
Key Arena ice is too small for NHL hockey, its concourses, seats, retail footprint, all too small. Does that mean Seattle Center is out? No, no location in the Puget sound media market is out. But, anybody that thinks Key Arena is "good enough" should keep in mind that the Seattle Thunderbirds junior hockey team moved to Kent. It's not good enough for junior hockey. It may be fine for other events, but its competitive advantage is that it is the only indoor facility of its size in or near Seattle, that's it.

Faced with direct competition what will Seattle do?
Well, so far they have been fighting it.
That fight is not in harmony with the desires of the primary consumers of the sports and entertainment that occupies such facilities.
Fact.



How?
Existing taxes and general fund revenues are off the table. The reemergence of the "Jock Tax" may not be the way to get this done, but it will drive the discussion much closer to what the public could support, as well as align with private funding interests.

A popular argument against extending the "stadium taxes" was that if there was something new that somebody wanted to fund then they should make a new effort and let the existing taxes expire as was promised. Another argument was that the citizens are taxed enough already. Another argument was that some of the taxes were being extended to support something that sone said had nothing to do with tourism (affordable housing).
All that points you toward the "Jock Tax" in a hurry. The question becomes: will the opposition to extending the stadium taxes actually support a "Jock Tax" or were those all arguments of convinience?

There are people that will say no, to any tax, to sports, so don't waste your time getting them to say yes, but do understand their reasons for saying no.
There are people that think a billionaire can build it if they want it. True, but I am not a billionaire, I want it, and I do not see a billionaire building an arena. I do see millionaires coming to town to benefit from the infrastructure we have already built.

The question is: who is saying yes?
If there is going to be a meaningful effort to create a "Jock Tax" then you are going to have to get a supermajority of the legislature to vote for it, or find an existing fee on out of state workers that could be amended to include professional athletes, and deposited in an account (how about the Public Facilities District account the the Convention Center has, and designate the funds fir sports facilities infrastructure only).

Any way you slice it, I need to understand how this kind of fee/tax has been presented before, who supported it in the legislature, and why it failed before.

27 comments:

bmac said...

cant 5834 be a source

Mr Baker said...

The question is if it is too far away to bond against, and it isn't enough to build an entire building. It would go a long way toward the public portion. The bonding question is where it's at.
If the answer is yes then you will see a rush to get something in motion, a scrappy competition, no doubt.

Mr Baker said...

Regardless, I think Washington should tax visiting athletes just as out athletes are taxed elsewhere.

Kieran in Dallas said...

When will they find out if the money from 5834 is bondable?

Mr Baker said...

Sometime next week.

Even if the answer is yes, I would prefer to have a jock tax supplant that lodging tax ASAP. There would be fewer people fighting for a jock tax and they would be fight for the same reason.

Mr Baker said...

About a year ago BR posted on SC that he was wondering if he should keep the site going and what his level of interest was. He did the same thing again about 6 months ago. That is a good example of revisiting what you are doing and your motivations are.

For me, about a year and a half ago I looked at the crappy economy and the state the State is in, and figured that we really are in a situation of the "haves" and the "have nots".
King County is the "haves", and we need to act like it.

I am motivated by wanting to make King County better, operating in an "and" state of mind.
NBA AND NHL
Sports AND Arts AND Heritage
AND...

Everybody that wins are those that really want everybody to win, the losers act selfishly, or ignorant of other people's fears and desires.

I would prefer that we have a new Arena AND a convention/community center in Kent and the Central District, AND....
The answer is AND.
It doesn't always work, but it has given me a point of view that has enabled me to give crystal clear advice.

Kieran in Dallas said...

Maybe bonds from 5834 will help get it built. A jock tax can work for the future alongside the bonds borrowed from 5834.

You use the bonds to partner with investors and get the arena built and also implement the jock tax to generate additional revenue to pay off the bonds and put money away for future projects and improvements. That can free up KC's tourist portion to go to non-sports-related stuff and the jock tax will take care of any sports related issues. It could be a win-win for all.

Mr Baker said...

Right, in that context you are more likely to get support to get your legislation passed from people that do not care for sports and would just prefer to not fight over the lodging tax.

You need an "and" solution for positive support.

A new revenue source that could only go toward sports facilities would solve many conflicts.

Peter said...

ugh.. tim eyman is rearing his ugly head again, this time about the jock tax. the article i read that was linked on sonicsgate's twitter seemed like eyman was gonna kill the leg's efforts and make sure there won't even be a task force. if we get a 2/3 majority does it even matter what he says? it just seems like between eyman and cvd (not to mention mcginn) there may not even be a solution short of some rich guy paying for it all.

Peter said...

i wouldn't assume these arena efforts were all connected either. someone easily could do what ackerley did in the 90's again by building an nhl arena not good enough for the nba like winnipeg's (dosen't winnipegs arena only seat 15,500?)to shut down competiton or redoing the key again to shut out the nhl. i just hope we get a facility good enough for both the nba and nhl from all of this.

Peter said...

i wouldn't assume these arena efforts were all connected either. someone easily could do what ackerley did in the 90's again by building an nhl arena not good enough for the nba like winnipeg's (dosen't winnipegs arena only seat 15,500?)to shut down competiton or redoing the key again to shut out the nhl. i just hope we get a facility good enough for both the nba and nhl from all of this.

Peter said...

sorry for the double post my computer locked up.

Kieran in Dallas said...

Hang tight Peter. If money from 5834 are bondable the wheels will really start turning.

We will know this week.

Fingers crossed!

Mr Baker said...

"Posted Sun, May 29, 3:24 p.m.

It should be obvious to everyone that this 'article' about the jock tax was a total fabrication by the author. It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that all the quotes were satire.

If you can believe it, some idiot hasn't figured that out:
http://seattlest.com/2011/05/29/tim_eyman_professional_buzzkill.php

as for being opposed to the extension of the 'temporary' stadium taxes, you betcha and proud of it:
http://soundpolitics.com/archi...

sincerely, tim eyman

— timeyman"
http://crosscut.com/blog/crosscut/20331/Reclaim-an-NBA-team-for-Seattle--Is-this-a-fantasy-in-our-confused-political-state-/

The Crosscut story is BS, according to Tim Eyman, and the Seattlest story is fiction but the author doesn't know it.

Peter said...

i knew something wasn't right about those articles. is there an actual link that says the stories are fake?

Peter said...

never mind, just looked at the crosscut comments. the story is fake. at first i didnt read the crosscut story and just read the seattlest one.

Mr Baker said...

I'm just going to collect a few notes here I posted on the Sonicsgate Facebook page: If there is going to be a Jock Tax (B&O) tax then it has to be very narrow in scope, the nexus explicitly defined, the repository of the funds isolated from government hands (the Convention Center PFD) and uses prescribed (pro sports facilities only). Even then, getting a supermajority to pass that is an up hill battle. GGCC needs to count their own votes, get a super-majority on record in support. The opposition then becomes philosophical.

Mr Baker said...

And another: Well, it appears that I did not describe a B&O Tax but a Fee. http://www.washingtonpolicy.org/blog/post/it-tax-or-fee and a fee does not require a super-majority. The more I look at it, the easier this gets. The Sonics2 would pay B&O tax to the state, and a lease on Full Tilt Ice Cream Arena (the lease exempts its employees from the fee).

Mr Baker said...

I think legislation could be constructed as a fee, and not a tax. A new tax requires a supermajority vote in the legislature, a fee does not.

Anonymous said...

I'm just throwing this out there, somewhat aware of the pitfalls and political minefield that this proposed endeavor would take but....The space designated for the WSCC expansion seems like a very nice spot for an arena, albeit with some convention space of course. How plausible is that? Do you think King County is even considering it?

Mr Baker said...

You would have to get pretty creative to put an arena in that spot.
With WSCC expansion delayed to somewhere around 2017 with the failure of HB 1997 I think King County would listen to any reasonable offer to activate that airspace sooner.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the other hotel taxes that were to be collected for the Convention Center expansion? Weren't they made available in the last legislative session?

Mr Baker said...

The convention center gains control of them this year. They had to leave behind most of their capital when they escaped the state. It will take them a couple years to bank enough money to move forward. I think that is in 2017.

Anonymous said...

Ok then, so 5834 is in addition to the proposed PFD for the convention center. That was in the neighborhood of about $766 million dollars right?

Mr Baker said...

They will be able to start their $776 million dollar expansion in 2017.
The money not going to arts, or affordable housing, in 2021 is about 6 or 7 million dollars that first year, then grows with inflation.

In order to do something bigger, sooner, you would have to have a private party pay and front load the activity. Not impossible, just that is what it would have to look like.

bmac said...

does that mean you cannot bond against that cash from 5834 as was discussed here recently,thanks

Kieran in Dallas said...

@bmac, it's a little far away from being bondable, but KC can committ an amount to join w/ private investors. Things should be getting interesting real soon. Sit tight and keep those fingers crossed.

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