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April 22, 2009 5:40 PM

KeyArena bill "dead" says Sen. Ed Murray

Posted by Jim Brunner

A bill to fund a KeyArena renovation (and lots of other King County projects) is dead, according to its chief sponsor, Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle.

The bill, substitute Senate Bill 6116, had been expected to come up today for a Senate vote. But when majority Democrats met in caucus, it became clear there wasn't enough support.

Murray told Olympia reporter Andrew Garber "It is dead... too much opposition in the Senate Democratic caucus."

The proposal would have allowed King County to redirect local hotel, car rental and restaurant taxes (now paying off the downtown baseball and football stadiums) to a KeyArena expansion, future maintenance at Safeco Field, low-income housing and many other projects -- including possibly a controversial Husky Stadium remodel.

The money would have been controlled by the Metropolitan King County Council.

In his e-mail, Murray said the opposition in Democratic caucus was for all sorts of reasons.

"Some oppose the arts piece, some the KeyArena piece, some the low-income housing piece. Some oppose allowing King County to keep the revenue," he said.

Of course, it's still possible all or part of this could get revived in the waning days of the session.

But right now this looks like a major blow for Mayor Greg Nickels' last-ditch effort to get a KeyArena renovation to lure a new NBA team for Seattle.

It could also mean Sonics/Thunder owner Clay Bennett gets to keep $30 million he might have had to pay Seattle. (See this post from yesterday.)

We'll update you on any new developments.

**UPDATE (6:20 p.m.): Just got off the phone with Seattle Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis, who says the city is not giving up on the KeyArena bill. The bill cleared has cleared both the Ways & Means and Rules Committees, he said, meaning it can still be brought to a floor vote at any time.

"At this point in the session, nothing is dead," Ceis said.

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Andrew Garber
Covers politics and state government from Olympia.

Jennifer Sullivan
Covers the state Legislature from Olympia.

Chantal Anderson
Covers the state Legislature from Olympia.

Emily Heffter
Writes about the city of Seattle and local politics.

Mike Lindblom
Covers transportation.

Jim Brunner
Writes about money and power from Seattle.