Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What's $119 Million Between Friends?

The Queen, it seems, is a big lady's roundball fan. She really wants the Sonics (and by extension the Storm) to relocate to a $500 million new arena in Renton. The team wants the state to pick up $300 million of that.

Gregoire apparently is not a big fan, however, of being straight with the state's taxpayers.

It's reported in today's Seattle Times that:
King County elected officials, and not lawmakers, should decide whether the tax package should require a countywide public vote, she said. Democratic members of the County Council want a vote, and Gregoire said she could support that.

Gregoire said repeatedly, and incorrectly, that the package affects only area citizens. "No state dollars are going to be used," she said. "State taxpayers are not interested in paying for a sports stadium."

Actually, the package would continue the county's withhold of a 0.17 percent sales tax that ordinarily would flow to Olympia for schools and other general government purposes. Over the time the Sonics' arena bonds were paid off, from 2014 to 2026, the tax would total $119 million, meaning taxpayers statewide would be financing a big part of the arena.

The governor's staff said later that she misspoke herself.
It wouldn't be the first time.

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