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June 18, 9:00 AM click here to comment > 37

Correcting Seattle Times misconceptions regarding the proposed arena

Last week Bruce Ramsey and Kate Riley, both editorial board members of the Seattle Times, went on the Brock and Salk radio show at different times to defend and explain the editorial coverage their paper has been giving to the proposed new Sonics arena. I listened to these broadcasts and was surprised and dismayed to hear how little they knew about or understood the actual proposal. The Times has a basic responsibility to get their facts straight – even if those facts don’t help them advance their particular view of reality. It frustrated me enough that I wrote down a point by point correction.

The first instance was last Monday, June 11, when Kate Riley, editorial page editor for the Times, noted that Seattle taxpayers do not want to be ‘on the hook’ for the cost of the proposed arena and wonders how the money will be paid back. She went on to cite the budget challenges faced by the City of Seattle and King County as evidence that this is a risky deal. Riley’s statements fail to capture the fundamentals of the proposed arena deal and the separate fundamentals of the budget problems facing Seattle and King County over the past four years.

On the arena proposal, there are three defined sources of revenue that guarantee that the costs of the bonds are covered by arena-generated revenues and the investor:

  • A guaranteed based rent paid to the City and the County by the investor
  • New incremental tax revenue generated by the arena project that would not be available to either the City or the County were it not for the arena being built
  • If the revenues from the two previous sources are not enough to cover the cost of repaying the bonds, the investor is obligated to pay an additional rent payment to make up the difference

The City and County are further protected by guarantees built into the Memorandum of Understanding:

  • A non-relocation agreement with the teams
  •  A requirement that the investor fund a reserve
  • A guarantee that the City and County are paid first from arena revenues – ahead of other arena lenders and investors
  • The ownership group of the NBA team would guarantee the annual payments to the City and County
  • In the extreme case of default that requires the ownership group to sell the team, the City and County have first right to the proceeds of the sale of the team after obligations to the NBA are satisfied
  • The City and County would own the land and the property under the terms of the MOU.
  • The City and County are protected by the requirement that the investor is responsible for all maintenance and operational costs of the arena, including a requirement to fund a major maintenance and capital investment fund to ensure that the facility’s long-term capital investment needs are met.

These guarantees were not part of previous agreements with other teams and facilities in our city, agreements supported by the Seattle Times editorial board. This deal is unique in providing more long-term protections to the City.

All of these guarantees will mean that the City and County General Funds will not be ‘on the hook’ for the costs of the arena. As for the budget challenges faced by the City and County over the past four years, what Riley describes as “the revenues expected that didn’t materialize,” that is a fundamentally different problem. To draw parallels between the two is misleading. The budget challenges faced by the City and County are the result of the longest, deepest recession since the Great Depression. As the economy faltered, revenues dependent on the health of the economy– such as sales tax and business and occupation tax – declined. As we continue into the very weak recovery from the Great Recession, these same revenues are now growing, but they are growing at a very slow pace – a pace that is not sufficient to maintain existing services.

To use the City and County’s General Fund budget challenges as an example of why the arena proposal could ‘leave tax payers on the hook’ is flawed. Under the arena proposal, the investors are responsible for any gap left after base rent and revenues are counted. Unfortunately, the City and the County do not have a similar investor to turn to when General Fund revenues falter. It is because of this that the City and County have had to make budget cuts.

Riley also made the claim on Brock and Salk that the City is still paying off Key Arena even after the departure of the Sonics. This is not true. The Sonics’ departure resulted in payments sufficient to retire the outstanding debt on Key Arena. The Sonics also did not have a non-relocation agreement at that time. Under the current proposal, there would be a binding non-relocation agreement.

In addition to Riley’s comments on the Brock and Salk show, the Seattle Times editorial dated Saturday, June 9, 2012, cites a possibility raised by some that the City and County will purchase the property for $100 million when Mr. Hansen paid a different lower amount. Bruce Ramsey of the Seattle Times also made a similar claim in an editorial conversation on the Times website dated Wednesday, June 13, 2012, and repeated it on the Brock and Salk show later that day.

The Seattle Times editorial writers aren’t getting this one right either. The City will only pay what an independent third-party appraiser says the land is worth. That price is capped at $100 million, but if it is appraised at a lower value, that is what we will pay. That payment goes to the operations and maintenance of the arena, not to Chris Hansen or any other private investor. That payment will be repaid to the City by the arena and its investors, with interest.

Ramsey also acknowledged he had not yet read any of the arena agreement documents, but pledged to do so. I’m glad he has made this commitment and I invite others to review the documents themselves at

As Mayor McGinn’s Budget Director, I am not in a position to put the City’s financial health or our General Fund at risk. Since I began working here in 2010, I have been able to advise the mayor on how to close budget shortfalls and ensure that our budgets are in balance. I would not sign off on any deal that would impair our City’s finances or our ability to fund our public services. I’ve given this proposal very close scrutiny and due to the protections included in the agreement, I believe it is worth supporting. It will serve as an important investment in our City while protecting taxpayers and the programs that depend on our General Fund.

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Posted by: Beth Goldberg


Comment from Otto
Time June 18, 2012 at 10:26 am

Great point by point response!

Comment from hughc5
Time June 18, 2012 at 10:35 am

THANK YOU!!! The amount of mis-information (especially by the times) has been disgusting. We cant let an opportunity like this go away for our community. Lets get back our sonics and bring the nhl!

Comment from Bryan
Time June 18, 2012 at 10:54 am

We’ll need to get them some aloe, because that’s a sick burn.

Comment from Brett
Time June 18, 2012 at 11:04 am

Awesome. Thanks for the great and truthful facts. It has been getting old seeing the same old lies recycled over and over.

Comment from Bill Bradburd
Time June 18, 2012 at 11:20 am

“tax payers on the hook” is a distraction from the real gift that is being made to Mr Hansen and his rich “investor” cabal at the expense of the citizens of Seattle.

Let Mr Hansen build the stadium, but use his own money and pay his share of taxes just as any other project and business would need to do.
The executive has from the first instance insisted that no public monies are part of this deal. This obfuscation – near dissembling – to conceal the reality that if the super-wealthy class behind the deal were to finance the deal with there own monies and riches, the project would be generating a couple hundred million dollars more in revenue for the city. Revenue that the budget director should be interested in using for our own purposes rather than paying off the stadiums debt.

So this money “would not be available to either the City or the County were it not for the arena being built” is to frame this as if the money magically appears and wouldn’t be spent anywhere else. This too is a sleight of hand, perhaps worthy of a budget director and administration not willing to address our billions in deferred infrastructure work and shorted pension monies amongst other financial woes, and perhaps looking instead to shore up a legacy with a flashy slam dunk.

Comment from Edward
Time June 18, 2012 at 11:30 am

Thank you, Beth!

As a citizen of Seattle, reader of the Seattle Times, a lifelong Sonics fan, as well as a former paper boy for the Times, it’s pained and driven me crazy to read the Times take the approach they have to covering this story. Not just the editorial, but actual news reporting as well. And especially given their selective reporting and massaging of the facts and details.

It’s ok if people disagree with the actual deal. But to misrepresent it and misinform the public to the degree of the Seattle Times is downright unconscionable.

Thank you very much for putting this out there. If those who want to fight this deal are going to do so. We need to see to it that they are forced to do so fairly.

Comment from Jordan
Time June 18, 2012 at 11:35 am

Kate Riley claimed to be only “asking the questions nobody was asking.” The thing she didn’t realize was the questions had previously been asked, and that there was actual information already out there. Thanks for bringing this to her and the rest of the Seattle Times attention.

Comment from Aaron
Time June 18, 2012 at 11:39 am

I suspect the real reason there is so much resistance to this proposal is not that it is a bad deal for Seattle, but that it would set a precedent for a self-funded, self-sustaining City and County supported arena. That will make it tough to sell future iterations of Safeco Field (the median-aged stadium in the MLB) and Century Link Field on the public dollar, like they were the first time around.

Thank you Mr. Mayor!

Comment from Paul Baker
Time June 18, 2012 at 11:46 am

To Bill:

Be specific on how this project would be generating a couple hundred million dollars more. The city will own the land and the arena, which is going to be an incredible asset for the city/county. Plus they will be getting rent/taxes from the many events that will be held there (many of which aren’t coming to Seattle/King county but to other places like Tacoma).

The money that is going to be spent by people attending events in the new area very well wouldn’t be spent anywhere else. NBA and NHL fans aren’t necessarily going to spend their money in Seattle. There are many fans from outside Seattle that will go to games. To assume that they will just move their dollars from other things isn’t true. Other financial issue that the city or county has shouldn’t change that this is a good deal for city/county as well as the region.

Comment from andrew.
Time June 18, 2012 at 11:51 am

fantastic. let’s get this done, seattle!!!

Comment from Rob Dromgoole
Time June 18, 2012 at 11:57 am

Thank you Mr. Mayor for your support and great article. I sent it to the Council. I encourage all of you to do the same.

Comment from Seattle Citizen
Time June 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Shame on you, Seattle Times.

Comment from Derek
Time June 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm

@Bill, I hate to point this out to you, but if Seattle wants either or both the NHL or the NBA, then this is the deal that it needs to make. You won’t get a better off than this. Mr. Hansen is doing Seattle a favor. He could easily work with another team in another city to make team ownership happen. Most of what you are saying is nothing more than a conspiracy theory. If this is done right, the return of the NHL and NBA to your city would be an economic boon that could help address some of the very issues that you named in your post. Seriously, look at other deals that have taken place across the country. Hansen’s offer is a gift, and the city of Seattle should take advantage of it.

Comment from chris
Time June 18, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Great analysis and fact check.

The city could use this arena deal to help revitalize the SoDo district, along with helping the infrastructure around the port. BOTH can come out winning in this deal. It does not have to be one or the other. Having someone offer this great of a deal in this type of economy is a blessing, the city wold be foolish to not take this.

Comment from Deborah
Time June 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Thank you for clarifying the facts AND for providing a link to the source of those facts. This deal is an incredible GIFT to the citizens of Seattle and King county, and will benefit both sports fans and non-fans.

Comment from Brandon
Time June 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm

@ Bill Bradburd…you make some good points. I agree that they should build their own arena. However, this is NEVER going to happen. If we want the Sonics back and an NHL team then we as the taxpayers need to support this. I don’t agree however that it comes at the expense of the taxpayers and would like more clarification on that point.


Comment from Jonathan M.
Time June 18, 2012 at 4:24 pm

@ Bill

As stated by Derek, “Most of what you are saying is nothing more than a conspiracy theory. If this is done right, the return of the NHL and NBA to your city would be an economic boon that could help address some of the very issues that you named in your post.”

Much of what Bill posted is as likely to happen as it is not likely to happen. Please provide some more fact or proof with a claim like that.

Comment from Nash
Time June 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I applaud the Mayor for this piece. Facts are what the public needs to hear regarding this arena proposal, not those misinformed opinions driven by hatred for pro. sports

Comment from Justin
Time June 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Beautifully written, and way past due. Thank you for correcting the erroneous and rogue newspaper we have here in this city. I listened to Bruce Ramsey on the radio and he is clearly the one in the dark. Time for him to retire and sail off into the sunset.

Comment from Jeff Nusser
Time June 18, 2012 at 6:14 pm

@ Bill —

Yes, and Boeing and other local corporations also “should” run their businesses without tax breaks that incentivize them to stay in our region. But it doesn’t work that way, does it? Believing it should be so does not mean it will ever be so.

Your economic logic is so fuzzy, you really should see if the Times is hiring.

Comment from Joe F
Time June 18, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Hi Beth. Are you sure on these numbers?

Are they as solid as the DOJ police reforms costing $41M ?

Comment from Mike Baker
Time June 18, 2012 at 7:25 pm

A rare Fisking originating from a mayoral office.

Well played.

Comment from Dan
Time June 18, 2012 at 8:39 pm

@Bill…. What if pigs grow wings and fly? Does this mean no more pork product? What if snow storm his Seattle in August, my dog slips on the ice, which a car slides out of the way to miss him, hits a fuel truck and it blows up? What if the Mariners win the world series in 2012? What if Seattles climate changes drastically and we now live in a dessert? What if a place crashes into a prison, the inmates escape, and kill a bunch of children?

Stop TRYING to find a problem with this!

If Hansen DID build the thing on his own dime critics would STILL bitch and moan! I’m tired of people telling me whats best for me. If you don’t want to go to the arena then don’t and you won’t be paying for it. I choose to go to it and thus I will pay for it.

Its simple people, if you don’t wanna pay for the arena, then don’t go to it! Thats your choice! Don’t tell me what my choices should be and I won’t tell you what choices you should make. Simple

Comment from MICKY
Time June 18, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Great job and thank you Mayor McGinn.

This shows that not everyone in Seattle is 3 hours behind.

Comment from Andy Snow
Time June 18, 2012 at 9:29 pm

If these rich people build it with their own money and just by themselves, then the city gets no funds or revenue whatsoever in return. What you idiots fail to realize is that if a city wants something, then the taxpayers have to support it.

Comment from Bill Bradburd
Time June 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Because the City gets the land, the property taxes that would be paid are not: LOSS of revenue to city

Because they are using Sales, Admissions and other taxes to pay off the construction bonds, the city is losing that tax revenue. The bonds are $200M or so (I do not recall the exact number): LOSS of revenue to the city

Hockey and basketball fans spend their money elsewhere and it is likely that that money would produce revenues in some manner to the city.

Other stadiums have been built in recent years without taxpayer support. Mr Hansen is rich and clever – he should be able to do that. If he is threatening to to that if he doesn’t get the deal, well then good riddance….

As a taxpayer, for me getting a hockey team seems pretty low on the priority scale. But I understand this is big news for a lot of people.

The city has already invested $100M into Key Arena. We should find a way to make that investment work.

Comment from Kris
Time June 18, 2012 at 11:00 pm

If I was holding a garage sale over a weekend and my neighbor came and knocked on my door and said:

“Hey man. I’m going to be selling hot dogs and root beer floats and popcorn the same weekend you are doing your garage sale. I was thinking about having some fliers made and posting them around town… would you be interested in going half-n-half on the fliers with me?”

I might respond: “Hmm I don’t know I’m a bit tight on funds… can’t you just buy your own fliers?”

He might respond by saying “I mean, yea I could, but if I made fliers it would be good for both of us. More people coming by means more people at your garage sale.”

“hmmm, I don’t know.”

“Tell ya what, you give me $50 towards the fliers and I’ll pay that 50$ back to you out of whatever I make from selling hot dogs, root beer floats and popcorn on top of the extra traffic you get to your garage sale.”

“Where do I sign?”

Comment from @ Abe_Ortin
Time June 18, 2012 at 11:47 pm

I won’t even comment on Bill’s post. It is ignorant to the details of this deal and how it compares to every other arena deal that has come before it.
This was a great write up on behalf of the Mayor and I know that the politicians at first need to staunchly defend and promote their interests BUT when it comes time to vote, no self respecting local politician would turn their back on this revenue/job/buzz generating opportunity!
What economic impact will it have to have 30+ new millionaires in our city with disposable income?
What community impact with it have when these young men are contractly required to be a part of their community in the offseason (much like the Seahawks do)
Think of New Charities
Think of new safe funded programs for kids
More unifying events like the basketball tournement being hosted by Jamal Crawford in Spokane this summer.
Think of what the THOUSANDS of out of county participants injecting their own financial stimulus into King County.
Think of the Nationwide free advertising for the city of Seattle each time a home game is held.
This opportunity is more than just bringing back the Sonics brand, but that is great too.

Comment from scotta
Time June 19, 2012 at 4:15 am

Ma’am, I respectfully submit that you are lying in your response to the editors.
The City will ‘own’ the land, but will ground lease it to ArenaCo for 30 years.
ArenaCo will borrow to build the building, and will then sell it to the City for another $100MM, subject to that debt.
That’s the real lie you are perpetuating, and you know it.
This proposal is one-third of the City’s bonding capacity according to the City’s own February, 2012 study.
You can repeat your bosses’ platitudes all you want, but try and refute what I just said.
What will be the City’s real ownership interest in this building after the debt is on it? Answer me that.
Please. Because that’s the question I am posing to the Council, and I expect they will want an answer to it.

Comment from John
Time June 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm

The Seattle Times and it’s staff maybe the worst written paper in the country. The use of opinions as facts by the Seattle Times is shameless and horrible.

As somebody who does not like sports but does work in corporate finance and understand corporate finance I believe this is such an amazing deal for the public that if Seattle lost this it would hurt the city and state for years to come. This is a win win for all involved. The public is the biggest winner in this deal. Hopefully this works out well for the private investors (Hansen, Balmer, Norstrom’s) too. There is very, very little downside in this deal, despite the posturing by the port. The numbers don’t lie.

Comment from mspat
Time June 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Can you say “boondoggle?” If this is such a great deal, then, as others have already said, let those who want it pay for it. And site the arena elsewhere. I keep seeing and hearing reports in the media that the parking situation in SODO with this arena woulld be “workable.” KPLU just said that. I’d like to know what definition of “workable” we’re using here. Anyone who’s had to go to Pioneer Square when there’s any kind of game going on knows that “workable” means highway robbery expensive. With fewer parking spots, it can only get worse. And the traffic disruptions, because God forbid any of these teams have their schedules inconvenienced by having their games scheduled outside of commute time, will only create gridlock. NO, NO, NO.

Comment from Scotta (Please Disregard All I Post)
Time June 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm


Wow……… Thanks for proving the citizens of Seattle are morons. You are not helping us by posting these skewed post. I hope in the future you will think twice before you post because you are hurting our cause.

Thank you,

Citizens of Seattle

Comment from Dan
Time June 19, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Dear Mayor McGinn, This will be your snow storm, if this arena gets built using bonds backed by the city you will not get re-elected. This does add to the property tax and could impact the city’s ability to sell bonds for civic projects in the future. Stop providing public funding to hedge fund managers and billionaires/millionaires who could build this on their own. If this is such a good investment their would be investment bankers lining up to support this. This is just another rip off of public funding to support a private business.

Hopefully the city council will vote against this proposal in its current state.

I know I contacted them as I have contacted you to state my disapproval of this proposal.

Comment from Charles
Time June 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Correcting Beth Goldberg’s “Misconceptions”
Let’s get this out of the way first:
• I like basketball
• I like the Sonics
• I wish they hadn’t left
• Howard Shultz could and should have tried harder to get Mr. Balmer interested back then, and if he had, none of this would have happened.
• the deal being proposed IS much better than anything we’ve seen before (but it still, really does put tax payers very much ‘on the hook’ to pay for the arena)
Seattle Times editorial board members Bruce Ramsey and Kate Riley, as well as columnist Ron Judd have written in the Times and been interviewed on the radio about their opinions on the proposed arena deal. They have been taken to task by basketball fans and radio personalities and the Mayor’s Budget Director for being disloyal to the cause of returning basketball to Seattle and of not understanding the deal.

Budget Director Goldberg has stated several things in her recent blog post that I was – to use her words – “surprised and dismayed to hear how little she understands” of economics and taxation. (Again using her words) THE CITY “has a basic responsibility to get their facts straight. It frustrated me enough that I wrote down a point by point correction.”

Ms. Goldberg commented on the Times folks’ assertion that that Seattle taxpayers do not want to be ‘on the hook’ for the cost of the proposed arena and question how the money will be paid back. So do the Municipal League and others with a better understanding of economics and taxation.
Ms Goldberg makes several points that the Seattle Times, the Port of Seattle, we take issue with: (see links below from reputable sources who do understand economics and taxation)

1) “New” incremental tax revenues that “would not be available to either the City or the County were it not for the arena being built” that will be used to guarantee that the costs of the interest and principal payments required by the holders of the arena bonds
2) “If the revenues from the two previous sources are not enough to cover the cost of repaying the bonds, the investor is obligated to pay an additional rent payment to make up the difference
3) The City and County are further protected by ‘guarantees’ built into the Memorandum of Understanding: A guarantee that the City and County are paid first from arena revenues – ahead of other arena lenders and investors.
4) The City and County would own the land and the property under the terms of the MOU.
5) Ms. Goldberg says that she “would not sign off on any deal that would impair our City’s finances or our ability to fund our public services”
First a few facts and some assumptions:
• An MOU – Memorandum of Understanding – is not a contract, it is just an agreement to negotiate about a particular issue. Contracts frequently turn out very differently because between the time the MOU is signed and the time a contract is signed – things can change. We are probably years from Mr. Hansen being able to buy a basketball team – so we are years from a final contract. Things will change.
• MOST of the people who will go to basketball games already live in the Seattle metro area. Some (less than 10%) of ticket and other sales may come from outside the Seattle area, but 10% would be generous.
• Basketball fans have not been saving all the money they used to spend on basketball, parking, concessions, restaurants, bars, etc. They took that spending and continued to spend it – they just spent it somewhere in the Seattle area other than Queen Ann or the Key.
• The bonds will be paid off with tax increment financing (TIF) (which means that sales taxes and other revenues paid as a part of ticket and concessions and parking at the new arena will be used to pay off the bonds)

Given those facts and assumptions, here’s the truth about the economics and tax implications of the deal:

Addressing Ms. Goldberg’s Pt. #1, above:

In assessing the economic impact of a venue like this, economists measure the net income that accrues to the area. NOT SPENDING, net income that STAYS here. Spending doesn’t count (Really, not kidding). The reason is that if basketball fans really have not been just saving their money for years, then the net income to the area (for the sake of simplicity, let’s say the Seattle metro area) will not really increase much at all. Spending from People who come from OUTSIDE the Seattle metro area WILL count. Existing spending that is just transferred from a restaurant in Bellevue to a restaurant in Seattle is not an economic gain to the area – it’s just a transfer. The economy would have gotten that money and all the taxes and ‘multiplier effects’ associated with it anyway. If you limit the zone you measure to only downtown Seattle -then yes, you get a gain – but Bellevue shows an equal loss. Virtually all that money being spent is already in the economy – so the multiplier effect and “tax increment” only applies to the <10% money that is really new to the area.

Using TIF to pay off the bonds means that tax money that WAS being collected by the Cities and the County for their general funds – will no longer be collected. It will, instead, go to paying off the bonds for the arena. That means that the general taxpayer WILL, in fact, be paying for the bonds through losses in general tax revenues that used to be collected. The local tax coffers will experience a loss to the extent that any money that used to be collected by the City and County goes to paying for the bonds – which is almost all of it.

Given the above – if the deal happens – Seattle may get a team back – but the arena will, in fact, be publicly financed. Yes, it will cost the tax payers less than the old proposals, but because the interest and principal will be paid off over several years, the total the tax payers will pay for is still huge. And City backed bonds will use of City bonding capacity that might be used to pay for roads, bridges, and other arguably more important infrastructure. The opportunity costs of the City funding an arena are real.

Because the total amount of net NEW income that will come into the area is relatively small, and the LOSS of tax revenue will be very real – you need to expect a lot of people (like Ron Judd or the Times editorial board) to object to this deal on purely financial grounds and their objections are both accurate and valid.

Addressing Ms. Goldberg’s Pt. #2, above:

The taxes will be collected, so the investors will never need to pay up to make the city whole from this very real loss of general fund revenue.

Addressing Ms. Goldberg’s Pt. #3, above:
The idea that an MOU between the City and Mr. Hansen will have any effect at all on the repayment priorities of eventual bond holders is laughable, and it is embarrassing that our Budget Director would say that. The Bond holders are under no obligation at all to allow the City to be in line for repayment ahead of them, and they would simply refuse to buy the bonds if a clause like that were inserted. You can say whatever you want in an MOU because it isn’t binding on the bond lawyers or anyone else when the time comes to sign contracts and issue bonds.

Addressing Pt. #4, above: When the investors sell the land to the City, it takes the land off the property tax rolls. That’s a revenue loss to the general fund.

Addressing Pt. #5, above: Unless the actual contract emerges from the final negotiations does not include tax increment financing, or a net loss from property taxes, then Ms. Goldberg then that is exactly what she is doing, and the tax payers are very much ‘…on the hook’ for the costs of the arena. Is absolutely signing off on a deal that would impair our City’s finances or our ability to fund our public services”.

Economically, Ms. Goldberg’s arguments don’t measure up, and we have still not heard from the Port of Seattle and Industry on the economic impact of losing Port business because of the location.

I am not saying don’t go after the arena or a basketball team. IF YOU LIKE BASKETBALL – THIS IS STILL A HELL OF A DEAL, and all of us who like basketball will love having the Sonics back – but be more honest and forthright and please don't say it will help the economy, because it won’t; and please don't say it will not cost the tax payers every dollar of taxes that will no longer be collected because it will, and that means the tax payers are very much ‘on the hook’.

1) Municipal League
2) Manufacturing Industrial Council
3) Economists

Comment from denis
Time June 19, 2012 at 8:20 pm

From the first time this proposal was floated, $200 million was shown as the public’s share/contribution/input/portion/etc. of the total cost.

Does $200 million in fact come from the public?

If yes, why isn’t this number zero? This is America, folks.

Mr Ballmer’s wealth is reported to be about $14 billion. $200 million is 1/70 of $14 billion. If this project “can’t lose,” why doesn’t Mr Ballmer just write a check for $200 million and reap the rewards?

Comment from Mary Ann Schroeder
Time June 19, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Thanks to McGinn’s Budget Director for this great article. Why does the Seattle Times love hizzoner so much?!

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Time June 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm

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