July 19, 2008
Too much going on this week to have managed to get this posted on Wednesday, but wanted to let those of you following the Husky Stadium issue know that the task force charged with developing recommendations on future use of revenues from Safeco Field, Qwest Field, the Kingdome and possibly the State Convention and Trade Center met this past Wednesday morning in Olympia.
Co-chairs Sen. Tracey Eide (D-Federal Way) and Rep. Ross Hunter (D-Bellevue) were joined by all five other members in hearing a lengthy presentation from House and Senate committee staff on the details and history of funding of professional sports facilities in King County. According to the staff presentation, the first hotel/motel tax credits were enacted more than four decades ago in 1967 and were used to help finance the now demolished Kingdome. Over the years, additional taxes on hotel/motel stays, rental car use, restaurant meals and simple diversion of general fund tax revenues have been passed to finance additional professional sports venues in the state’s largest county.
Most of the meeting was devoted to what I might term “King County stadium revenues 101.” At the close of the almost two hour meeting, committee members had a chance to talk about other issues and matters they would like to hear discussed over the next few months. At least three additional meetings are planned this fall, and it is likely the University will be permitted to make a presentation on its stadium renovation proposal at one of those hearings. Judging by the number of interested parties in the audience, this should prove to be one of the liveliest and best attended joint legislative committees we have seen in a long time.