Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stadium Bill, HB 2252, Sponsored by State Representative Hunter

Washington State Representative Ross Hunter's has posted on his Bills Sponsored page House Bill 2252 that pays for, in part, Acquiring, constructing, maintaining, or operating public
12 sports stadium facilities
.
This is the county-wide sales tax on hotels, restaurant, and car rentals that the University of Washington's Husky Stadium. This may also be the source of revenue to pay 1/4 the cost of remodeling KeyArena. It was my understanding from proposals made to the legislature last year that the City of Seattle was requesting 1% of the funds generated from a 7% hotel tax that is collected just in the city that is slated for the Washington State Convention & Trade Center's expansion. It may eventually become the source, but in its current form the bill that pays for the convention center, House Bill 2250, makes no mention of Seattle Center or KeyArena. For that matter, House Bill 2252 doesn't directly mention Seattle Center or KeyArena either.

I expect one of these bills to change in order to satisfy the settlement agreement between the City of Seattle and Clay Bennett. Bennett is on the hook for 30 million dollars if the state and city approve a revenue source for the arena remodel and a team can not be located by 8/17/2013 to play in it. Finding a team doesn't look like too much a problem in the current state of the economy, but there is not good reason to overlook a 30 million dollar technicality.

Stay tuned.

18 comments:

Mr Baker said...

To Ross Hunter:
Just so I understand the result of your sponsored bills 2250 and 2252. The City of Seattle has a hotel tax at 7%, and a car rental and restaurant tax that is the same as the rest of King County. The 7% (less the state credit, so maybe that's 5%) is going toward the convention center. The car rental and restaurant taxes collected in Seattle go to the county fund that likely will not get spent on Husky stadium. So, there are these two pools of taxes collected in Seattle but neither is being made available for Seattle Center. If the city wants tax revenue they can raise taxes even though a tax is already collected in the city.
If you are telling the city they have the authority to impose its own taxes because it isn't getting the revenue from your two bills I am wondering why the city would support your two bills at all. If we are on our own, then why carry the burden on the businesses for the benefit of the rest of the county or state owned institutions.
Husky stadium is owned by UW, that is owned by the state. Regardless of location, it is not a city institution, and the taxes collected in Seattle could go there, but not to a city owned facility.
The convention center and it's revenue is owned by the state. You second guessed the convention center's projections but went ahead with sponsoring a bill for them. The hotels are owned by private companies, and the citizen (me) pays for everything else that makes it possible to have the hotels and convention center. Pike Place Market, the parks, all that other stuff that is my city is more than a tourist attraction for the benefit of hoteliers and the convention center.
As the situation currently is, this is burdensome with subjective and indirect benefits, at best.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear his answer on this.

Mr Baker said...

TO: Representative Ross Hunter

FROM: Mr. Michael Baker

STREET ADDRESS: xx
Seattle, WA 98133

EMAIL: xx

PHONE: xx

SUBJECT: Joint Task Force Local Financing Options for King County

MESSAGE: Just so I understand the result of your sponsored bills 2250 and 2252. The City of Seattle has a hotel tax at 7%, and a car rental and restaurant tax that is the same as the rest of King County. The 7% (less the state credit, so maybe that's 5%) is going toward the convention center. The car rental and restaurant taxes collected in Seattle go to the county fund that likely will not get spent on Husky stadium. So, there are these two pools of taxes collected in Seattle but neither is being made available for Seattle Center. If the city wants tax revenue they can raise taxes even though a tax is already collected in the city.
If you are telling the City of Seattle we have the authority to impose its own taxes, and it isn't getting the revenue from your two bills, I am wondering why the city would support your two bills at all. If we are on our own, then why carry the burden on the businesses for the benefit of the rest of the county and state owned institutions.
Husky stadium is owned by UW, that is owned by the state, and its direct revenue it brings in. Regardless of location, it is not a city institution, and the taxes collected in Seattle could go there but not Seattle Center.

The convention center and it's revenue is owned by the state. You second guessed the convention center's projections but went ahead with sponsoring a bill for them. The hotels are owned by private companies, and the citizen (me) pays for everything else that makes it possible to have the hotels and convention center. Pike Place Market, the parks, police, art, and all that other stuff that is my city is more than a tourist attraction for the benefit of hoteliers and the convention center. Where is the direct payback for me, the citizen, and my instituations.

Also, I am not sure that including low-income housing into an art, cultural center, stadium bill is in line with the intent of the law it is being inserted into. Shouldn't that also be its own bill, doesn't the county have the authority to raise taxes to pay for that? It looks like that is a back-door tax increase while the actual intent of the bill would not actually go toward a cultural center, stadium or arena. I'll have to look to see if low-income housing is in 82.12. I think I am paying for that already in my property taxes. If they need more money then a new line in a sales tax bill looks . . . new.

I'm glad the money is not being picked up and spread all over the state, but it is being picked up and being spread all over the county or into state owned institution.
As the situation currently is, this is burdensome with subjective and indirect benefits, at best. I am trying to find a way to support this, but I do not see it yet.

RESPONSE: Mr. Baker has requested a response to this message.

Mr Baker said...

I revised my note before sending it. Low income housing in this bill is not in the spirit of the bill, that's a backdoor tax increase.

Anonymous said...

To what end will this disfunction between the city and state accomplish anything? If Hunter is calling the city's attempt to get the convention center money "childish" there obviously some deep seeded resentment going on between the mayor's office and Olympia. And the kicker is that they're all Democrats! This gets more frustrating by the minute.

Mr Baker said...

And that is why I sent an email to the governor last night, to ask for her help.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how much leadership you can expect from her. I wrote her earlier and I really didn't expect a response nor did I get one. They will use the economy as a valid excuse and the blue-hairs, unions, and neo-socialists will be in lock-step with her assesment. The mention of the Key or Husky Stadium actually creating construction jobs is DOA in their minds. I hate to be so pessimistic about this but it is what it is.

Mr Baker said...

She gets a ton of email. All I can do is send it, the only response I have gotten from anybody has been from the city.

I hope they read it, and know that I know what they are, or are not doing.
I archives one email here that I sent to Hunter. After the legislative session I may have to send it around, and I hope he does not want to be county exec, because he's not acting like it.

Anonymous said...

Well I can't fathom what could be going on with the city and Ross Hunter presently. Regardless of this disfunction, I still wonder how plausible it be for the "Ballmer Group" to either add more investors or carry the deal through. Then negociate a favorable deal whereas this public facility eventually would come under private ownership once the city's $75 million bond is paid off. There were other members of the previous ownership group besides John Stanton that did not want to sell. Can you tell me they wouldn't be interested in "getting back into the game?"

Mr Baker said...

The public portion of KeyArena will be paid for by the public.
As much as I want the settlement satisfied it is becoming very clear that the settlement, satisfied or not, would not return the $30 million dollars because a remodeled KeyArena and billionaire Steve Ballmer would have no problem getting a team. The league would welcome moving a team that is in a money losing market.

I think the question is how the city could raise a tax without "raising taxes".
If the city could keep all the B and O taxes from all activity in KeyArena and not have those revenues go to the state then that would be one way. That's my first idea.
I am sure the city is working on something, they want that other 150 million and a remodeled Key. The Seattle Center master plan is pretty weak without a very active Key.

Anonymous said...

I understand that the "public" would handle 50% of the deal. But due to gross incompetance and ineptitude of the later party it is plausible that the SCI could pay the 75% of the costs plus overruns with an eye toward complete owership of the venue. If the Space Needle can come under private ownership I don't see why the Key couldn't as well.

Anonymous said...

And while they're at it they may want to get this gentleman on speed-dial:
http://www.king5.com/business/stories/NW_022309WAB-bezos-economy-kindle-SW.448649d1.html

MarkS said...

Anonomous

Balmer has already stated he will cover cost overruns.

Mr Baker said...

true, Ballmer did say that.
Let's stop pretending for a second that Ballmer couldn't get another team, because he can get one, one of many, so if the state goes through the motions again and the city plays up Hunter's bullshit about the city having authority to tax its self (not the point Hunter, we want our restaurant tax money, and you f-ing know it) and the city says hey, the state allowed he this one tax (sculpture park REET tax, or something like that) and the city will come up with the rest for a total if 150 million would Ballmer look the other way and accept that as good enough?
I think the city is getting plenty of directed stimulus money right now.

For such a freakshow the WA state politicos are golden in DC, Nickels was front row and identified by the pres last week are doing things in Seattle, 2 days ago at the governor's conf in DC Gregoire was sitting at the Obama table for dinner, wRon Sims, Gary Locke, the police chief, it is nuts.
Suck it up Greg, front the bonds and make it happen!

Anonymous said...

Mark S., I know that Ballmer said he would cover the overruns.

Anonymous said...

You're right, they love our politicians in the other Washington. Maybe someone should ask Obama what his favorite NBA was when he was growing up in Hawaii. Fronting the bonds sounds good as well, but Nickels believes it's most likely political suicide.

Anonymous said...

Hey there apparantly has been a AK 1984 sighting according to Big Chris on SC. I know your riveted with excitement of this recent development.

Anonymous said...

Pretty quiet on the arena front, wouldn't you say?