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Update on Stadium Tax

May 26, 2011 J

In the dark of night and during the final hours of session, State Senator Scott White (D-Seattle) kept trying to resurrect his zombie stadium tax bill. Zombie because it kept coming back from the dead for a total of three times in the final days of session. The bill changed numbers, but it still had the same stench.

Supporters wanted taxes collected for car rentals, restaurants and lodging in King County to fund a convention center expansion, arts and other cultural activities. The problem is that the ‘stadium taxes’ (car rental and restaurants) expire in 2015. The lodging taxes, while still being collected, were set to stop disbursement to arts and culture in 2012. The plan was to renege on their promise to voters and extend all the taxes into a neat little package.

The Seattle Times weighed in with their 4th editorial against extension of the temporary taxes. Stadium taxes should be allowed to expire, as promised

Grassroots from around the state contacted their Legislators again. By this time their numbers were on redial.

In the end, SB 5834 (permitting counties to direct an existing portion of local lodging taxes to programs for arts, culture, heritage, tourism, and housing) passed and has been sent to the Governor for signing. None of the controversial stadium taxes were extended. But this is only 2011. We have four more years for them to call the bill back from the dead.

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