Saturday, May 28, 2011

Green and Gold Community Coalition

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

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.

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.