Advertising

The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds | seattletimes.com

Local News


Our network sites seattletimes.com | Advanced

Originally published Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Comments (0)     E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Senate, House approves King Co. arts tax bills

Washington lawmakers approved two bills that would extend taxes that were meant to be temporary to fund arts and other economic development in King County.

Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. —

Washington lawmakers approved two bills that would extend taxes that were meant to be temporary to fund arts and other economic development in King County.

House members approved a more expansive bill on Friday night that directs revenue from taxes on hotel stays, restaurants and car rentals to fund local arts and a convention center. On Saturday, senators approved a bill much narrower in scope that addresses funding for arts only.

The taxes outlined in the House bill are currently going toward paying off the Kingdome, Safeco Field and Qwest Field. The Safeco Field debt is expected to be paid within the year. The House bill extends the 0.5 percent restaurant tax until 2015, even if the Safeco debt is paid off.

Under the measure, the 3 percent car rental tax and 2 percent hotel tax are extended indefinitely to raise revenue for an expansion of the Washington State Convention Center, affordable housing and Pioneer Square-International District revitalization projects in Seattle.

Expanding the convention center will create several thousand new jobs - much-needed employment growth as the state struggles to come out of the recession, supporters say.

"It's important to point out that this bill will result in 4,500 new construction jobs and 3,000 long-term jobs in hospitality," said Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina. "It's important to have that job growth in King County."

But opponents argue that by extending the restaurant and car rental taxes, the Legislature is breaking a promise made to taxpayers in Washington, and that it reflects badly on their credibility.

Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, said the car rental tax, particularly, hits low-income people and should not be extended.

The expansion of the convention center, supporters argued, will result in increased tourism for King County, which will bring in more revenue that will go toward arts and cultural programs and building work force housing for hospitality and service workers.

The bill by Rep Tina Orwall, D- Des Moines, passed 55-42 in the House and now moves to the Senate.

The Senate's bill only deals with the hotel tax, allowing a King County arts fund to tap it in 2021. That measure now heads to the House.

King County spokesman Sung Yan said the county supports both bills, but the House bill is their requested measure.

advertising

On Saturday, the Senate also approved a measure that would allow certain Medicaid recipients to purchase eyeglasses made by state prisoners at affordable prices.

----

Associated Press writer Manuel Valdes contributed to this report.

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

More Local News

UPDATE - 09:46 AM
Exxon Mobil wins ruling in Alaska oil spill case

NEW - 7:51 AM
Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife

Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife

Longview mill spills bleach into Columbia River

NEW - 8:00 AM
More extensive TSA searches in Sea-Tac Airport rattle some travelers

More Local News headlines...

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Comments
No comments have been posted to this article.

Video

Advertising

Marketplace

Advertising