Saturday, January 16, 2010

Washington State City and County Taxes in Context: Short Term Help for All

On Tuesday the Washington State House Finance Committee will have a hearing, and take testimony, on at least three bills that are intended to allow local control of limited taxes, for a limited time.
Finance* -  01/19/10  1:30 pm
Full Committee
House Hearing Rm C
John L. O'Brien Building
Olympia, WA
REVISED 1/14/2010 3:16 PM
Public Hearing:  
HB 2650 - Providing local flexibility with existing revenues during severe economic downturns.
HB 2749 - Concerning local government taxation.
HB 2773 - Concerning local excise tax authorities for counties and cities.
Committee Meeting Documents
Note: Documents are not available online until the meeting has begun.

HB 2650 allows cities and counties that collect a tax for new infrastructure for things like parks, libraries, police and fire training facilities, trails, etc., to also allow that money to be used for maintenence of capital facilities.

HB 2749 removes "nonsupplant" language from effected taxes. This allows a city like Spokane, or Seattle, to take a city budget item off thier general fund capital maintenence budget and supplant the state authorized tax sources to pay for this things.

HB 2773 "A county legislative authority may authorize, fix, and impose a sales and use tax until December 31, 2014. To retain or impose the tax after December 31, 2014, the county must submit an authorizing proposition to the county voters at a primary or general election and a majority of persons voting must approve the continuation or imposition of the sales and use tax."

For the followers of SB 6116 these other bills could mean a few things, conflicting things.
You could view this as supporting, and allowing, the City of Seattle, and King County, the ability to solve some of their general fund shortages by redirecting some of these taxes. That is true, to a point. The first two are aimed at non-core government functions.
In a way the first two bills isolate these "wants" from the "must do's". Still, those wants have an impact on may, many, lives.

The last bill is short term funding that has an end in 2014, and requires a public vote of simple majority to extend the tax. SB6116 does this for King County, and so maybe King County does not need SB 6116. On the other hand, try passing SB 6116 for King County and tell the 38 counties they can not do the same.
This could take the urgency out of passing SB 6116, or it could be a segue to cleaning up the laundry list of wants in that bill.

No matter, no other county, or city, can say something special is being given to Seattle and King County, and that may help. Every municipality is struggling right now. Local control over how and what to do about it is a useful context to have right now.

Remember, many hands make light work.


Anonymous said...

McPikedream already butting heads with the city council.....Should be a very unproductive 4 years.

Mr Baker said...

The council has numbers on most major issues.
He can not pick up where Nickels left off.

Tom Rasmussen is more popular.

Anonymous said...

Getting back to B-ball, I'm finding it hard to reconcile the fact I'm encouraged with the prospect of an immenent lockout. I just have a hunch that when the smoke has cleared and the league has a business model that makes sense we'll most likely get a team back. I think that's what the movers and shakers are looking at as well. I'm actually more concerned with an immenent lockout by the NFL than the NBA.

Mr Baker said...

Ryan Leaf, as long as the player's union defends a system that produces bust contracts they are going head toward an impass.
The owners are creating their own larger problems, stadiums, like arenas, do not grow on trees. The new cowboys stadium does not represent all markets.

Whenever somebody would say that the Seattle arena should only be privately funded it was often the Pistons (among others) that was point out as an example.
The Pistons are for sale.
The reality is that sport as entertainment business became bloated.

I think the sport economy is contracting, or in a major slump, and we will see what happens in the next set of tv contracts.

Anonymous said...

mr b - i know the house bill is 2912. what is the companion senate bill? or is there one yet?

Mr Baker said...

SB 6661

Anonymous said...

I jumped back over from SC to continue the arena placement scenario. To keep my mind occupied during breaks I look on Google Maps to see what land is available within the city to build. And aside from the Qwest parking lot, there's some land east of Safeco (which looks like a construction staging area), and the proposed convention center expansion over the metro station there aint much. Of course that doesn't mean land could be made available by the city or a private owner. Ultimately I think you want to "shoe-horn" a venue like that to exploit the downtown activities which pretty much goes without saying. In my mind Sabey's land seems a bit far from the SODO experience for that as well as being underdeveloped, industrial, and any building would have meet zoning requirements and FAA approval due to it's proximity to Boeing Field. Bellevue (possibly Renton) has it much easier to make something happen. Although that isn't my personal preference.

Anonymous said...

Just throwing it out there but here it is: Is it even plausible for the city to sell the Key? My candidates would be Dave Sabey, Steve Ballmer, or even Paul Allen (in the guise of Vulcan,INC)to form some sort of worthy partnership and get the venue into some acceptable multi-purpose venue. How hard would that be?

Mr Baker said...

That was sort of tried with Howard Schultz, he did not have the cash to throw away on a building like that, not like Ballmer has.

Brian is right, though, the all important roof line of KeyArena, and the struggle over what to do with Seattle Center between Nickels and Simms would never have allowed anything like that. Both of those guys are gone, so maybe something else could happen now.