Friday, March 13, 2009

County Tax Proposals to have Hearing in Ways & Means Committee on March 18th

Yesterday, reported in the Seattle PI, House Bill 2252 passed in the Washington State Legislature.

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The state House wants to extend some taxes that paid for professional sports stadiums in Seattle.

Right now, the taxes on restaurant sales and rental cars are supposed to expire after the football and baseball stadiums are paid off. A bill approved 54-42 by the House on Thursday would keep the taxes going longer, with the money flowing into a special account to pay for housing projects, the arts and other programs.

The account is not supposed to be source for a new NBA arena or Husky Stadium.

The restaurant tax would eventually expire. A third tax on hotel rooms also would flow into the special account.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

As was mentioned on March 7th, here and elsewhere, Senate Bill 6116 was introduced by enators Ed Murray and Jeanne Kohl-Welles. SB6116 was similar to House Bill 2252 except that it did include support for stadiums and arenas, and extended the food and beverage tax (restaurant tax) as a funding source.

House Bill 2252 was passed by the House, and has moved on to the Senate Ways & Means Committee. Both bills, HB2252 and SB6116 are on the March 18th agenda for public hearing.

Along with the now somewhat familiar HB2252 and SB6116 is another bill, Senate Bill 6118.
Why that is one of the Senate's versions of House Bill 2250 (what?). Ok, does the Convention Center ring any bells? This one is the skim off money for a museum. Hey, that's what the county tax does, only for county and city museums. This is confusing, I hope they can reconcile all these bills.

1 bill passed by the House on the county taxes.
1 sponsored by two Senators (one being Ed Murray) on the county taxes.
1 bill for funding the convention center account with a new Section 3: a 2% tax, to be used under RCW 82.14. sure, museums are part of RCW 82.14, everybody nows that, but so are stadiums, RCW 82.14.049 (like I had t tell you, half of the husky nation has this written on the palms of their hands thinking they have a date with a pile of cash, not so fast dawg-boy).

The last bill on the agenda, that's the housing trust fund that pays for low-income housing, as is mentioned in both of the county bills.

All in one day, all in the same hearing, imagine that.

I have linked below to the bills (including the one about booze, I'm going to need it).

Ways & Means* - 03/18/09 1:30 pm
Full Committee
Senate Hearing Rm 4
J.A. Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA

REVISED 3/13/2009 11:47 AM

Public Hearing:
SB 6119 - Limiting the discount of purchases of spirits by licensees.

SB 6116 - Funding arts and heritage programs, tourism promotion, youth sport activities, regional centers, publicly owned stadiums, community development, and low income housing in a county with a population of one million five hundred thousand or more.

ESHB 2252 - Funding for arts and heritage programs, regional centers, human services, low-income housing, and community development in a county with a population of one million five hundred thousand or more. (If measure is referred to committee.)

SB 6118 - Concerning lodging taxes for, and certain transfers from, the state convention and trade center account.

SHB 1250 - Concerning the housing trust fund.

Possible executive session on bills heard in committee. Other business.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone


MarkS said...

Thanks for the update Mr. Baker.

Empathize with your comment about needing the booze. Following the actions of the legislature can often drive one to drink.

JB said...

Mr. Baker,

Where in HB 2252 does it specifically mention that the tax money cannot (or will not) go towards renovating Husky Stadium or Key Arena?

In reading the bill it appears that the county could indeed use the money to renovate either stadium, if appproved by a county committee and then approved by the legislature.

The Associated Press article regarding the House passing this bill simply states that the money "is not supposed to" go towards renovating Husky Stadium or Key Arena. What does that mean? Nowhere in writing does it say it will not go towards these two purposes.

It almost appears to be a "sneak attack," if you will. Thanks!

Mr Baker said...

They end the restaurant tax after 2015 in HB2252, so, the funds are not there for a stadium.

Anonymous said...

Well I caught bits an pieces of the hearing on SC. I'm not sure what to think. Maybe this was just grandstanding for the legislature so they can say "Hey we tried, but the economy is so bad right now....etc" But I try to remain cautiously optimistic. If they "split the baby" between Husky Stadium and Key Arena/Seattle Center I'll be half-happy I reckon.