I’ve made a habit of abusing the state’s media recently for constantly repeating the Sonics’ misleading number that they are only seeking $300 million in taxpayer subsidies… when in fact they are really seeking $400 million (not to mention another hundred million or so in road improvements):
The Times continues to repeat that $300 million figure when in fact the Sonics’ plan calls for $400 million in taxpayer subsidies: $300 million from the sales tax, and $100 million from Renton. I’m not sure what the correct answer would be on the math WASL, but the last time I checked, 300 plus 100 still equals 400. (Wait… let me check my calculator. Yeah. 400.)
Well, it looks like the Times finally took my criticism to heart and whipped out their calculators, for in today’s edition we finally see the number change:
The Sonics still are not sure if state lawmakers will support a bill that would provide $200 million toward the new arena.
Oops. You were supposed to add $100 million onto the public cost, not subtract.
Unless… maybe the Times knows something about the Sonics’ rumored new financing plan they weren’t supposed to tell us?
Richard Pope spews:
You think the Democrats will give the Sonics the $400 million? They had no problem giving similar sums of money to the Mariners and Seahawks. Maybe the fact that the Sonics are owned by Republicans will provide a misguided reason to finally have some fiscal sanity.
Roger Rabbit spews:
You got action, Goldy! They removed it. But I’ll vouch for the fact it was right there on their web site — “$200 million” — until after 4 p.m.; and I’m gonna check the print edition.
FricknFrack, Seattle spews:
I’m not sure what you’re referring to Roger Rabbit. What I’m seeing now at 5:41pm, at the link Goldy provided, says:
Tuesday, April 10, 2007 – Page updated at 02:14 PM
Sonics | Is the future in site?
“While one component of the arena situation appears to be settled, the Sonics still are not sure if state lawmakers will support a bill that would provide $200 million toward the new arena.”
One way or another, the crooks are going to manage to ram this arena down our throats, just like another Kingdome – is what I figure is going to happen. While they figure some new way to lob a BUNCH of levies on the next ballot to pay for basics and wring hands while crying poor!
It seems to me the basketball czars want an arena they can drive to without having to go through Seattle traffic. Since the czars have all moved to the once-forested sprawl, and the I-405 will soon become a 12-lane monstrousity… er, I mean “freeway” leading to Renton, why should not the public fund their sportsmen’s muse? Don’t so many of the players, the nappy-headed ho’s deserve some equity, some reason to play mo bettah fo the massah?
We should keep the NBA around here. If the legislature says NO to Sonics the Democrats will be blamed.
There are more important reasons than this to keep Democrats in power in Olympia. (And they will lose seats in East King County over this.)
The legislature isn’t deciding whether to spend $300-$400 million in public funds, they are only giving King County (and maybe King County voters) the ability to decide. (OK, and Renton.)
They ought to do that.
And save the majority for more important things.
Sam Browne spews:
Even the Cato Institute got this issue right. I’ve started printing full copies of articles like this one and mailing them (not emailing them) to legislators.
Thor is right. There is no reason the legislature should not pass the buck to K Cty. THEN we get vote this idiocy down.
Truth Detector spews:
Sorry to interupt some really great rhetoric but some facts need to be inserted in this topic.
– The new proposal has removed the sales tax credit from the funding for the Events Center. The means that 100% of the funding in this package comes from hotel/motel, rental car, and the last 4 years of the restaurant tax. All collected only in King County and the nearly all paid by tourists.
– Despite claims otherwise the City of Renton will not be putting in $100 million. To start with they do not have the bonding capacity to put that much in. Next they have already committed over half of what they do have to other projects. The Mayor clearly stated that the most the city would be willing to do is invest 2/3rds of whatever tax revenue they get back into infrastructure investments. This is a bit of misinformation fueled by people assuming something that was never said. No one has ever officially said that Renton was being asked to put in $100 million. They assumed that when the owners said they would put in at least $100 million and that the rest would come from other sources (including local investment) that the other $100 million would be City taxes. In fact some of it will be from reduced costs as they find ways to trim the cost of the complex. The building itself is only $350 million of the project, the rest is parking and other infrastructure. If they can find ways to fund that other stuff with partnerships they can trim that cost way down.
– The public contribution is capped. Cost overruns created by the owners will be covered by the owners.
– The state spends $64 billion a year in subsidies for business. Some examples are:
Wholesale auto auctions $ 11,707,000
Insurance companies $557,000,000
Insurance agents $ 29,355,000
Newspapers $ 27,216,000
Coin operated laundries $ 6,252,000
Drug Companies $453,000,000
Airlines $ 97,429,000
In many cases these subsidies go right to the bottom line for some of the wealthiest companies in the country and provide nothing in return for the taxpayers.
It can be debated how big the return for an investment in a state of the art Events Center is, but what is un-deniable is that it is a big enough return that every major market has one or wants one and with only a couple exceptions they are funded all or at least mostly with public investment.
John Barelli spews:
I wouldn’t call posting inaccurate information at the end of a two-day-old thread “interrupting”.
I would call it an attempt to avoid being called for being inaccurate.
Your comment that the restaurant tax is “nearly all paid by tourists” is simply absurd, and while that may be true for rental cars and hotels, the only part of those taxes that should be considered are those taxes paid by people coming to the area primarily for Sonics games.
Otherwise, we’re spending tax dollars that will be available with or without the Sonics, and could be used more productively, for legitimate needs such as schools, or to reduce the overall tax burden.
And I notice that you seem to confuse tax incentives, which are a reduction in taxes that would not otherwise be collected, and subsidies, which are funds paid directly to or on behalf of a particular business or person.
So, nice try on adding to an old thread in order to avoid having someone call you on your inaccuracies. A few of us actually look at these old ones occasionally.
Truth Detector spews:
Hmmmm, well leaving the insults out of it, I posted when I did because that is when I saw the message.
Now lets do some fact correcting on your spin:
I did not say that the “restaurant tax is nearly all paid by tourists”. If you would take a moment to actually read what I said rather than look for ways to misrepresent what I said, the qoute was “All collected only in King County and the nearly all paid by tourists” which was a reference to the entire tax package.
That statement was 100% accurate because of the total funding most of it is paid by tourists. Again, the restaurant tax is only the last 4 years of the already approved duration.
“Otherwise, we’re spending tax dollars that will be available with or without the Sonics, and could be used more productively, for legitimate needs such as schools, or to reduce the overall tax burden.”
This is one of the biggest pieces of misinformation about this deal. *IF* we don’t build this Events Center none of these taxes would be collected. That leaves a total amount of $0.00 available for other uses.
But even if you were right, you can’t honestly think that they ever would “reduce the overall tax burden”. Given revenue surplusess that are at an all time high did they “reduce the overall tax burden”? Of course not. They spent it, and spent it fast, and came back for more.
And lastly, again assuming you were not completely wrong, the money could not go to schools because the funding for schools is capped. All it takes for schools to get more money is for Olympia to remove the caps that force huge amounts into the capital projects fund which would allow more money to go into operating costs. Why won’t they do that? Well check the PDC reports of those that block it and you’ll find your answers.
“And I notice that you seem to confuse tax incentives, which are a reduction in taxes that would not otherwise be collected, and subsidies, which are funds paid directly to or on behalf of a particular business or person.”
You don’t seem to have a problem misrepresenting “types” of taxes”. I see a double standard here. It is amazing you can’t see the hypocrisy in your own statement.
As for “an old thread” this was on the main page under “recent posts”. Same quality research that went into your whole post.
John Barelli spews:
Well, I would submit that the restaurant tax is the largest part of that package, but I was simply using common sense, rather than research. I’ve looked for hard data, and have not immediately found it. If you have percentages, please post them.
As to some tax dollars not being collected, you are correct. If the events center is not built, some taxes will expire, provided that some other proposal for using them is not approved by voters. That would fall under the category of “reducing the overall tax burden”. Knowing voters and taxes, I consider the possibilities of allowing those taxes actually paid primarily by visitors to be minimal. Voters like “painless” taxes.
Of course, they really aren’t painless, but that would take a couple of college level courses in economics to cover, so for the moment, we’ll continue to consider them as such.
Even the city of Renton admits “These hotel, car-rental, and restaurant taxes will expire if not extended through state legislation, so that money would not be available for other priorities. While the sales tax credits could be put back into the state general fund, counties across the state use such credits for economic development projects like convention centers, performing-arts halls, and museums, so it is likely that other projects will be proposed to use this revenue stream.” (Emphasis added.)
No, and I wouldn’t even have a problem with using tax dollars for the Events Center, if it made economic sense. Essentially, if it (including the additional business the Events Center brought in) brought in more revenue than was likely to be spent. Remember that the vast majority of visitors do not come here for sports events that will be hosted at the Events Center.
Again, this is simply common sense. If you have hard data to contradict this, please let me know. The proponents of the Events Center seem to have gone to some effort to confuse the matter.
Every tax dollar spent here (and not recouped by new revenue) is either a dollar that will have to be replaced by general tax dollars (meaning out of my pocket) or is a dollar that does not need to be spent, meaning it could be left in the taxpayer’s pocket.
Again, I’m not spending several hours researching this point, simply using common sense, but I am certain that the vast majority of folks coming to visit this area are not primarily interested in the Sonics, and will come here regardless, thereby paying those rental car and hotel taxes.
Only the additional tourist dollars generated either directly or indirectly through the events center can be used to determine whether or not it is a viable investment. So far, the proponents have been avoiding that issue very carefully, and as I do not presume them to be stupid, I must assume that the answer to that question does not help their cause.
This is a pretty active board, and the only people to post in this section since the tenth have been the two of us. Around here, that’s an old thread, but I understand your point. Most blogs are lucky to get more than a couple posts per week, so I apologize for the inference.
Many people have strong feelings about this issue, primarily due to their strong feelings about sports teams in general, and the Sonics in particular. I have no problem with that, although (as should be obvious) I do not share those feelings. “Our multi-millionaires can beat your multi-millionaires” seems rather silly to me.
If the fans are willing to pony up the cost of a new arena for the Sonics, my answer is “more power to ’em”. But, as it appears that the proponents of this are planning to find their way into my pockets, either directly or indirectly, I find myself in opposition, and wish the Sonics the best of luck in Oklahoma City.
I’m about as likely to go to a Sonics game there as here, so I do not wish to spend a big chunk of my tax dollars in supporting them.