New Sonic stadium: Should it be funded by the taxpayers?

Posted Tuesday, February 13, 2007 by Ed Harper

Today, Clay Bennett is testifying in Olympia at a hearing chaired by Margarita Prentice, Rep. Renton. Bennett is the new owner of the Sonics who hails from Oklahoma. He would like to build a new stadium somewhere on the east of Lake Washington and he has an ally in Rep. Prentice. She is a Sonic season ticket holder who would love to have the Sonics in her backyard. There are two sites still in the running for the stadium on the Eastside, Auto Row in Bellevue, and the Boeing property in Renton. Heck, the Seahawks as moving south down Interstate 405 next year for their practice facility, and why shouldn’t the Sonics move too?

Problem is, Margarita Prentice has already proposed providing $300 million to help retire debt of Safeco Field and Qwest Field and pay for a portion of the new Sonic Stadium. No, it won’t be called Starbuck’s Stadium with Howard Schultz having moved on. The tax increase will be in the form of a .05 cents in the local sales tax on restaurant purchases. Prentice states this will put a majority of the burden on out of town guests. Since when do out of town guests provide the majority of our purveyors of our eating establishments?

It is likely in my mind that the Sonics are going to move only it will be about 1500 miles east to Oklahoma City and not just 15 miles to Renton. This is another example of the sports franchise owners holding a region hostage demanding new stadiums at the expense of taxpayers. Wake up Olympia and just say no!

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