Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Arts and Heritage Advocates Statewide are Needed - Reach Out!

Can SHB 1997 make it out of the senate committee of economic development, trade and innovation? Honestly, we don't know. Last year, we were in this same position - a bill passed in the Senate, and another in the House, bills that did not match up. Both bills died.

We need state legislators to work together and come up with a plan that will save 4Culture!
What can we do? Do our best to support the upcoming hearing for SHB 1997.

SHB 1997 has been scheduled for a hearing in the 
Senate Economic Development and Trade & Innovation Committee on Thursday, March 10th at 1:30 PM. The committee is mostly non-King County senators. There is speculation that senators are likely to vote down any bills that are seen as extending taxes of any kind.  It is critical that we reach out to this committee about why this legislation must be passed this session.  
Talking points (what we should start getting adamant or even angry about):

  • SHB 1997 provides economic development and supports tourism related activities that will draw visitors to all of Washington State. Plus the projects outlined in the bill will not only stimulate our economy but also retain and create jobs for citizens in and out of King County.
  • We need to save 4Culture this year or we have a 90% cut in funding that will amount to the agency shutting it's doors and an end of support.
  • Regarding the reticence of senators to pass SHB 1997 - these taxes were planned and plotted during some of the most flush years our state has ever seen. We know they were scheduled to end, but we are now in the deepest recession our state has seen and could use some innovation and stimulation to create jobs and get us out of this mess.
  • The temporary re-authorization of the restaurant tax (which by the way, only amounts to a $0.25 tax on a $50 meal) is supported by key leaders in the restaurant and tourism industry. Why? because it will create possibly thousands of jobs in the region as we build and then maintain an expanded convention center. And because with the expanded convention center, we can attract more tourists, who will stay in hotels and eat in restaurants and pour money into our state coffers to pay for other services we need.
  • Re Housing: hmmm... maybe this could be built for the minimum-wage earning work force (artists, custodians, servers, managers, bartenders, and service people) who make this tourism industry plausible.
We don't know why this bill didn't go straight to ways and means, but we face a HUGE hurdle getting this bill to pass this Senate committee. Please act. Please write and call your senators. Please go to the town halls in your area this weekend and speak up for SHB 1997. This is go go go time, if there ever was one.
If you are a resident of any of the areas listed below, or know arts and heritage advocates who are, we urge you to contact these Senators [contact info here], who serve on the Economic Development and Trade & Innovation Committee, and ask for their support of SHB 1997!  Otherwise, please write your own Senator and ask them to pull whatever strings they have to see that this bill is passed. It is a time to call in favors.

The message is simple, these legislators voted positively for SSB 5834 so you can THANK THEM for their recent support of SSB 5834 and let them know, that SHB 1997 deserves their support too.

  • Jim Kastama (D) District 25, Puyallup (CHAIR)
  • Maralyn Chase (D) District 32, Edmonds, Kenmore, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park (VICE CHAIR)
  • Brian Hatfield (D) District 19, Wahkiakum, Grays Harbor, Pacific and Cowlitz Counties, Longview, Westport
  • Janea Holmquist Newbry  (R) District 13, Ellensburg, Yakima, Moses Lake area
  • Derek Kilmer (D) District 26, Gig Harbor, Port Orchard, Bremerton, Fox Island 
  • Paull Shin (D) District 21, Edmonds, Mukilteo, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Everett
  • Joseph Zarelli (R) District 18, Clark County 
These two Senators on the committee voted against SSB 5834. If this is your legislator, please write them and say you are disappointed they voted against SSB 5834, but that they can right the wrong by supporting SHB 1997:

Michael Baumgartner (R) District 6, Spokane area (RANKING MINORITY LEADER)

Doug Ericksen (R) District 42, Whatcom County 

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