In a statement this afternoon, state Sen. Ed Murray said he was "extremely surprised" to learn that city officials, including city council president Richard Conlin, were unfamiliar with a provision in stadium legislation adopted last year that gives the public authority governing Safeco Field the right to charge its own commercial parking tax, preempting the city's parking tax. The amendment, as I reported yesterday, will cost the city as much as $300,000 a year.
“The tax authority approved by the Legislature this year had long been supported by the City of Seattle and was in previous versions of the legislation we eventually passed–including another bill approved by the House this year, and two bills proposed in 2010," Murray said.
"That the tax would specifically be in place of a city parking tax was clear. ...Therefore I am extremely surprised to learn through reports in the media that City of Seattle staff was unaware that the tax provision was included in the bill. I am disappointed in comments attributed to the president of the city council suggesting the provision amounts to taking money from Seattle. Again, this was a team effort that included the City of Seattle – until, apparently, this week.
“I am happy to continue to work with the Seattle City Council on this issue. I encourage them to bring concerns directly to me and other legislators, so we can address them effectively. It is not helpful to discuss these issues through media reports and incendiary language."