Friday, December 16, 2011

Seattle Times Editorials: Region's NBA dreams shouldn't involve public investment

Leave it to the Seattle Times to point out the extremely obvious, we are not going to spend existing tax money on an arena.

SEATTLE basketball fans are excited by news that two different investor groups are trying to bring NBA basketball back to the region — either to the Eastside or Sodo area of Seattle.

But the idea will not go far unless the latest groups trying to replace the departed Seattle SuperSonics are willing to invest huge sums of private money in a team and an arena.

The current economic climate precludes public investment from any existing or new revenue sources, including the recently expired sales tax on bars and restaurants in King County.

An investor is acquiring property in the stadium area of Seattle and talks have taken place with Mayor Mike McGinn about efforts to attract a new NBA franchise and facility. Hockey is apparently part of the planning.

If the city wants to fast-track permits or make minor transportation adjustments to accommodate a job creating endeavor, that would be fine.

But with the state, county and city cutting numerous basic services, public investment cannot be part of the equation.

An investor is acquiring property in the stadium area of Seattle and talks have taken place with Mayor Mike McGinn about efforts to attract a new NBA franchise and facility. Hockey is apparently part of the planning.

If the city wants to fast-track permits or make minor transportation adjustments to accommodate a job creating endeavor, that would be fine.

But with the state, county and city cutting numerous basic services, public investment cannot be part of the equation.
. . .

But spending new taxes that only exist because professional athletes exists, that looks like a yes, as long as the tax can only be contained to those athletes and not spread to the rest of the population as an income tax.

One idea under consideration is to mix sizable private investment with some sort of tax on players or teams in all major league sports to cover the cost of building a new arena and future repairs to existing stadiums. This approach is used in a few other NBA locales.

If this becomes a prelude to an income tax, forget it. Voters are an unequivocal no on that idea. If it becomes something more creative, skepticism is the first reaction, but we need to hear more.
Seattle Times Editorials: Region's NBA dreams shouldn't involve public investment


Well, I think we all need to hear more about this "creative" idea. The sooner, the better.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

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http://ManyWordsForRain.blogspot.com

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

It should go without saying but if Portland and Vancouver can build their respective arenas with primarily private investment, Seattle can too. And the return on investment should be profitable its run properly, you schedule as many events as you can, and have a major anchor tenant. Preferrably two.

Mr Baker said...

Albert Pujols just got a quarter billion dollar contract, Seattle and the state are fighting over a 300 thousand dollar annual parking tax credit the state gave to Safeco Field to maintain that public facility.

Something isn't right about that.

Peter said...

i think the athlete fee should be something that is widely supported. i know there will be paranoia about a income tax, but would placing an admendment on the bill clearly idenifing that only athletes could be taxed and mandating that in order to expand the tax to anyone else it would take a public vote be enough to squash the paranoia? if i recall hope is calling this a "fee" not a tax. it is a good idea to put a fee on athletes, but couldn't the city also impose user fees in the arena? if i recall 75 mil of the ballmer key plan was to have user fees, and nickels offered that. we could potentially raise more than that through a user fee if we had two teams and more events, which we would get with an new arena.

Peter said...

"But spending new taxes that only exist because professional athletes exists, that looks like a yes, as long as the tax can only be contained to those athletes and not spread to the rest of the population as an income tax."

That's not how i read it. people should support the athlete fee. there shouldn't be any "skepticism". my big fear is that the paranoia over the income tax will kill these efforts. people shouldn't even be paranoid. this is a "fee" according to hope. uuughhh.

Mr Baker said...

there shouldn't be any "skepticism".

That is the Seattle Times covering their asses until actual legislation is revealed that dispels the skepticism in a public way.

They are clearly providing a path to get the green light from them. There is a path of least resistance here that will take a lot of effort to move this forward. It is good to see the Seattle Time at least consider what that path looks like.

Peter said...

BR seems to be down on the idea of a athlete fee on SC. i had that same question too, what to do when one player makes more than another player i.e kobe vs. isiah thomas. you wouldn't have to tax a percentage of their entire yearly income, which is what a income tax is. i have concerns too about this being an anti-tax environment. however, he also says the athlete fee isn't a make or break part of an arena. i don't know what he means by that. we are not going to spend public money in this environment. i think the 2 groups might have to combine and join forces if all else fails.

Mr Baker said...

You tax the value the person gets from the use of the facility.
Kobe gets more value for his use than Thomas does.
It is a user fee.
There is a lot of political pushback on the idea, slippery slope, blah blah, fact of the matter is as my example shows, a real estate broker that brokers the sale of a million dollar home pays more tax than another broker selling a 100k property.
We already do this.
Secondarily, I highly doubt pro athletes get paid as "employees" but paid to an incorporation entity, Kobe inc. I am going to look into what type of entity teams actually transfer their funds into that could simplify this issue.

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