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May 1, 2009 5:54 PM

Gregoire: KeyArena bill unlikely in special session

Posted by Jim Brunner

Gov. Chris Gregoire stopped by The Seattle Times offices today for an interview with the editorial board. Most of the hour was spent talking about the state budget, swine flu, the Viaduct, and the likely special session.

You can watch it all here.

I also asked Gregoire about the prospects for reviving Senate Bill 6116 during the likely brief special session later this month. That's the proposal that could allow King County to divert some local taxes to a KeyArena expansion, as well as Safeco Field maintenence, a Husky Stadium renovation, low-income housing, the arts and lots more.

I've already reported that the bill looked dead. Really dead.

Still, some backers had hoped it might get new life, possibly in a slimmed down version, during a special session. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels had asked Gregoire to push for that.

After all, it's the last shot for Seattle to keep Oklahoman of the Year Clay Bennett on the hook for another potential $30 million payment to the city as part of last year's Sonics settlement.

But Gregoire was blunt during today's visit. She said she pretty much gave up on that proposal early in the session.

"There are some who feel passionate (about the NBA), but they are clearly in the minority. Others feel that, if they're going to cut services to seniors citizens and people off health care, that it would not be acceptable to the public that we went out and funded a stadium for professional basketball... When I got that reaction early on in the session when I was more focused on this issue, I decided it wasn't a fight I was ready to fight for. I had other things I had to fight for."

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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.