Kohl-Welles statement on stadium funding vote
Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles is releasing the following statement concerning stadium funding legislation that passed out of committee earlier this afternoon. It passed 5-4 with Kohl-Welles voting in opposition.
“I am disappointed with the approach supported by five of my colleagues to provide nearly $135 million in taxpayer dollars to support upgrades and improvements to Safeco Field. While I am pleased that the amendment increases funding for affordable housing, the overall proposal has significant problems.
“The plan to gut tourism funding to increase investments in affordable housing while investing $135 million in a building occupied by a sole tenant, the Seattle Mariners, valued to be worth $1.5 billion doesn’t add up. Tourism promotion is what fills hotel rooms with visitors. Gutting tourism dollars is like killing the goose that lays the golden egg.
“The Seattle Mariners do not need this money. They pay no property taxes, they pay a nominal rent, all of which goes back into the stadium, and they are expected to cash in big on a new naming rights deal that would easily cover the cost of the upgrades they are asking King County tax payers to pay for.
“I am hopeful that we will come to a resolution before final passage that restores funding to tourism promotion and significantly reduces the amount of money to Safeco Field for bells and whistles that can only be appreciated by those who can afford a ticket.”