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Tax the players to build a new NBA arena in Seattle

The National Hockey League is looking for a local buyer and possible move of the financially troubled Phoenix Coyotes. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Before the Seattle SuperSonics were peddled off to Oklahoma City, Washington state legislators refused to even consider using public money to help pay for a new NBA arena.

Now comes an idea to make the basketball and hockey players help cover the cost of a new building.

State Rep. Mike Hope of Lake Stevens is floating a proposal in Olympia to charge National Basketball Association and National Hockey League teams a license fee each time they play in the potential new arena. The money would be used as leverage to sell $62 million worth of bonds.

Hope is optimistic he can get support from republicans and democrats because no taxpayer money is involved.

"When you're looking at this proposal, it's not going to affect a single person in Washington state," Hope explained. "The people who are going to pay for this are the athletes themselves."

Tennessee and Ohio have used a similar plan to finance new arenas.

The NHL is looking for a local buyer and possible move of the financially troubled Phoenix Coyotes. The NBA has a couple of franchises which could be relocating in the near future.

There is one Chicago businessman interested in locating a hockey team on a Bellevue, Wash. property. Another investor group just purchased a possible arena site south of Seattle's Safeco Field.

There could be hearings on the plan in the next few weeks.

About the Author

Sports anchor, news reporter, emcee, and a man of many voices, Bill Swartz has been a jack-of-all trades during his career, especially at KIRO Radio and 710 ESPN Seattle since 2002.


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