Hopefully the future doesn’t judge present-day Seattle by Wednesday’s King County Council compromise on hotel tax revenue. In a 5-4 vote, the council agreed to pay for $135 million in repairs and maintenance at Safeco Field.
“Providing $135 million in taxpayer funds to subsidize the owners of the Mariners – a private profitable business – is an irresponsible use of public funds,” council member Dave Upthegrove said of his vote against the plan and his opposition to the funding. “Something is broken in our political system when those who already have great wealth can pull the levers of government to benefit themselves.”
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The money will cover the county’s end of maintenance and repair work at the stadium over the next 25 years at the home of the professional baseball club. The team had made the funding a condition of signing a new lease for the facility.
The compromise deal broke a logjam in the legislative process over the tax revenue. Opponents won a $165 million increase in cash to be dedicated to affordable housing in the deal. The compromise dedicates 50% of future revenue, or $661 million, “for investments in affordable housing and homeless youth services,” a statement from the council reads.
Council members Claudia Balducci, Reagan Dunn, Kathy Lambert, Joe McDermott, and Pete von Reichbauer voted for the compromise revenue plan while Rod Dembowski, Larry Gossett, Upthegrove, and Jeanne Kohl-Welles voted against it.
The Seattle City Council, meanwhile, will also be dealing with things sporting and stadium Friday as its committee on civic arenas discusses plans between the city and the Oak View Group for renovating Key Arena.