The Seattle Times today had an article discussing two alternate uses for the 7 cent hotel/motel tax: expanding the Washington State Convention Center or refitting Key Arena. I don’t really care which gets built, but the first plan raises an interesting transit question. That Convention Center station is part of downtown Transit Tunnel, but is not a Link station. What will happen to it in the event that Link trains become so frequent buses need to be taken out of the tunnel?
The on/off ramp from the I-5 express lanes is useful at very least, and expanding the convention center – as some in the state want to do – may not be a bad use of the airspace above the convention center. Another crazy idea I once thought about was putting a streetcar barn there, assuming more streetcars are built in the city. The current SLU barn, really only holds about three or four cars. What are other good uses of that space?
A last, little thing from the article:
Ceis said redirecting a portion of the 7 percent hotel tax could prove more palatable because it is collected only in the city of Seattle and primarily from out-of-town guests. (King County hotel rooms outside of Seattle are charged a 2.8 percent tax for the convention center.)
Although the convention center’s hotel-tax money is not part of the state’s general-fund budget, lawmakers have raided it before.
Two years ago, the Legislature grabbed $65 million from the convention-center account for the general fund — redirecting surplus hotel-tax funds to pay for other state services.
If Seattlites want to get riled up about being ripped off from a tax standpoint, look to this tax, especially if it’s being spent on the state’s general fund.