Climate Pledge joins Seahawks, Mariners stadiums with a significant excise tax exemption

Apr 20, 2023, 2:00 PM | Updated: 2:34 pm

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A general exterior view of Climate Pledge Arena before the game between the Seattle Kraken and the Carolina Hurricanes on October 17, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Climate Pledge Arena got an unexpected tax break from state lawmakers Wednesday because the Seahawks and Mariners ownership refused to pay an excise tax directed at stadiums that hold capacities of more than 2,000 people.

The owners of the Kraken — David Bonderman, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Tod Leiweke with the Seattle Hockey Partners organization — built the $1.6 billion Climate Pledge arena with private financing, unlike the Seahawks’ home, Lumen Field, and the Mariners’ home, T-Mobile Park, which used public money.

Real estate excise tax bill makes it out of committee

When state lawmakers proposed an excise tax on stadium leaseholders, the Kraken agreed to it, but the Mariners and Seahawks — which had an established exemption from an excise tax — allegedly did not.

Instead of taxing the Kraken, legislators awarded the Climate Pledge leaseholders the same tax exemption the Mariners and Seahawks currently have.

“Doesn’t reek of fairness, but rather more like a giveaway,” Seattle Democratic Senator Bob Hasegawa said, who voted against the exemption. “I would much rather see the revenue, and it’s not that much. It’s more, I guess, the principle of the thing, as I’d much rather see that revenue be put to use providing services for homeless or substance use disorder treatments, or whatever. We’re talking a couple of a million bucks which, in the eyes of the folks that own the Kraken, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”

Seattle Kraken to wear Muckleshoot Indian Tribe jersey patch

Despite Hasagawa’s vote against Climate Pledge and its leaseholders to be included in the exemption, the bill passed in the Senate Wednesday on a 42-7 vote.

The bill now has to go back to the House, which initially passed it on a 93-2 vote last month, for its approval because the Senate added an amendment. The amendment adds a 10-year expiration date while modifying the criteria of eligibility for the new leasehold excise tax exemption.

Matt Markovich contributed to this reporting

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Climate Pledge joins Seahawks, Mariners stadiums with a significant excise tax exemption