The names of those hoping to testify at a crowded morning hearing before the House Committee on Finance filled up 12 sign-up sheets, an unusually large number for the committee.
But missing from the hearing were University of Washington officials, who are hoping House Bill 2912 could eventually bring in part of the funds needed to renovate the 90-year-old Husky Stadium.
The bill would grant King County the authority to re-purpose tourism tax revenue, currently used to pay off Safeco Field and Qwest Field, toward low-income housing programs, public health services, youth sports facilities, the arts and yes, Husky Stadium.
After last year’s well-publicized war of words between UW officials and Washington State University boosters, and even between the schools’ athletic directors, the UW’s absence Thursday likely means that the school is making a less public push for stadium funds.
UW President Mark Emmert said yesterday after his meeting with The Olympian’s editorial board that the school’s position remains the same.
“This is a debate for the county,” he said. “The county needs to decide what they want to do with this. We’re hopeful that the Legislature will move this debate to the county and they can argue about it over there. To me, it’s not a state Capitol debate, it’s a King County debate.”
Rep. Dave Quall, D-Mount Vernon, is the bill’s prime sponsor.
“The people who have the problem usually have the best solution,” he said.