Monday, June 1, 2020
June 1, 2020

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Sales tax option omitted in Wenatchee bailout

The Columbian

WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) — Lawmakers have taken out a sales tax provision in a bill that would provide the Wenatchee area a $42 million state bailout.

Starting on Monday, lawmakers will begin pushing a bill to financially help the Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center Public Facilities District, which has been unable to pay off short-term debt for the Town Toyota Center arena, a 4,300-seat facility completed in 2008 that hosts hockey games and other events.

The city can’t legally issue new bonds without exceeding its debt capacity, according to a judge’s ruling.

Facing a default, local leaders went to the state Treasurer’s office, which wrote the bill providing the bailout.

But the Wenatchee World reports ( ) that local Wenatchee leaders didn’t like a provision in the measure that would have allowed the arena agency to impose a .2 percent additional sales tax in the Wenatchee area without voter approval.

The bill now calls for the agency to come up with a plan to repay the state, if not the state will withhold about $4 million a year from state money to the Wenatchee area for 10 years.