State lawmakers starting session with arena bailout talk

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- State lawmakers are beginning their legislative session with a hearing on a $42 million bailout package for a Wenatchee-area agency.

A House committee is scheduled to take up the issue Monday afternoon. State officials fear that a default will ripple across the state and make it more difficult for similar agencies to borrow.

The proposal that lawmakers are considering would use a state-managed fund for local taxes to make a key bond payment on Thursday and allow local jurisdictions to pay back over time. The Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center Public Facilities District has been unable to pay off short-term debt for the Town Toyota Center arena.

Bill sponsors say they have been reluctant to pursue the plan but say it is necessary.