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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Olympia

Raining on the Emerald City’s parade…

NBA commissioner David Stern, other basketball big names and a long procession of arts advocates urged state lawmakers to approve a sales-tax package to pay for a new or renovated Key Arena.

But not everyone was a fan Senate Bill 6849:

"Members of the committee, my name is David Rolf. I am the President of SEIU 775, with 30,000 members in the long-term care industry, in every zip code in the state.

"I cannot imagine a lower priority for the use of the public’s money then the purpose this bill anticipates.

"This contemplated act of corporate welfare takes place within the following context:

"-Incomes are stagnant or declining for 2/3 of households.
-Health care costs are eating up a greater % of employee paychecks and employer profits, even while benefits get cut and hundreds of thousands are uninsured.
-The average home price is now out of reach for an average income family in Seattle .
-Tuition costs put higher education out of reach for some working families.
-52% of all baby boomers have no retirement savings besides social security and their home equity.
-And, of course, the impoverishment of nursing home and home care workers threatens the quality of care for tens of thousands of elderly and disabled Washingtonians.

"The profitability of a sports facility should not be a higher priority than the health care of frail elderly people, or education, or housing.

"The indirect transfer of public wealth to private, for-profit sports teams should not be a priority of our government, under any circumstances, at any time.

"If you do pass this bill, we urge you to authorize the use of this tax for housing, health care, arts, education, and social services, but not to help subsidize the profitability of professional sports teams.

Thank you."

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.