I’ve given short shrift here to the slowly simmering campaign to allocate tax money to a renovation of Seattle’s KeyArena, and this is why:
A bill to help pay for an expansion of KeyArena was declared “dead” by its chief sponsor Wednesday, but a top aide to Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels vowed to keep trying to revive the proposal in the waning days of the legislative session.
The proposal, Substitute Senate Bill 6116, passed the Senate Ways & Means committee over the weekend and had appeared poised for a vote of the full Senate Wednesday evening.
But when majority Democrats talked about the bill in caucus, too many objections surfaced, according to Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, the bill’s prime sponsor.
“The bill is dead for the session. Really dead,” Murray said.
The bill would have extended the sales-tax surcharge that is paying for the Mariners‘ Safeco Field and the Seahawks‘ Qwest Field and used the proceeds for renovation of both the KeyArena and the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium, as well as arts and affordable housing projects. Clay Bennett, owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder (formerly the Seattle Supersonics), would have to pay Seattle $30 million if the state legislature allocated renovation money and no new NBA team arrived within five years — but given that the state would likely have to put up at least $150 million toward the renovation, you can see where some legislators might not consider that a good ROI.
Also of note: The tattered remnants of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer covered this turn of events by running a five-sentence AP story. That whole web-only journalism thing is really going just swimmingly, huh?