Dear Sean Cockerham:
Have you read the proposed House bill 2062 for the building of a Nascar speedway?
I devoted a lengthy part of the evening to reading it and while I confess that I am
no attorney here are just some of the more interesting hand-outs the track will
receive, as I understand them:
(1) _Section 201, #33:_ The host city “assumes responsibility for environmental review and permitting, after annexation.” Assuming this means Bremerton, where the mayor is pushing
hard for annexation, has anyone told the people there that the taxpayers will be paying for the Environmental Impact Statement, and not the developers of the track?
Not only will the track be built to accommodate 83,000 people, but a recreational vehicle park will also be built, as well as food concessions, parking and hospitality facilities, public restrooms, administration, maintenance, etc.
A 25 year tax bond will be levied on the people of Washington and the tax collected will be used to pay the debt service of the bonds issued to finance the facility. Meanwhile, the admissions tax collected on the sale of tickets for those attending the two races per year will be divided as 80% being paid to the facility /first/ and the remaining 20% to the host city/county /second/.
(2) _Section 503:_ The newly created sports authority “may apply for the deferral of sales tax”.
The language goes on to state that the deferral is for a period of five (5) years “after the facility is operationally complete”. There will be no interest of penalties on any tax deferrals, which can be paid back by the facility in increments.
(3) _Section 505 (4):_ The host city/county must provide storm and sanitary sewer services to the facility even if this extends 10 miles away from the host city/county boundary (see Section 604).
(4) _Signage Exceptions:_ are already in-place and listed from 101/Airport Rd N in Shelton, 101/Mill Creek Rd in Forks, on 105 in Aberdeen. There are more; please refer to the subsection of the bill.
(5) _Section 507:_ Provides exemptions to recreational shooting and emergency or law enforcement equipment. Does this mean that if there is a shooting at the track or grounds that it exempt the owners/developers from liability under the law?
(6) _Section 507 (2):_ The sounds and noise coming from the motorsport facility will be exempt from existing noise laws. No doubt the neighbors living close by will be pleased to hear that (no pun intended).
(7) _Section 509:_ The facility will be exempt from Forest Land Comp Tax. I presume this means a large forested area is going to be cut down to make way for Nascar.
(8) _Section 510:_ Exempt from Forest Practices Act Conversion Moratorium: From my reading, it would seem that reforestation rules will not apply. Also, the facility will have a 6 year hold on the land after logging and the city/county _must deny any and all applications for use._ Oh yes, and the local city/county is responsible for creating a process which lifts the 6 year moratorium!!!
(9) _Section 511:_ RCW 35.13.182 is changed so that a city or town may annex territory /beyond/ its existing urban growth area. This one provision is disturbing enough to vote the proposal down!
(10) _Section 601 (1):_ The lease is for 50 years; the bonds that pay for it is for 25, a nice profit margin there.
(11) _Section 601 (6):_ In your article, you state that 2 major racing events will be held per year. And that is correct “only if sales and use tax credits are in effect.”
(12) _Section 602:_ This is the section for Leasehold Excise Tax exemptions. Basically, all the facilities the sports authority will be using: sewer, public utilities, housing, recreational vehicle parks, etc. will all be exempt from Leasehold Excise Taxes.
(13) _Section 603:_ The sports authority can make payments in lieu of property taxes for fire protection and emergency medical services.
(14) _Section 604:_ Sewer – the city and/or county must provide sewer service within 10 miles /outside/ of its corporate limits to the motorsport facility. (15) _Section 607:_ RCW 84.34.020(1) Reclassification of Open Space and Agricultural Conservation Land….as I read it, the motorsport’s recreational vehicle area, temporary parking lot, and any area that does not have an impervious surface will be reclassified as “open space”, a nice restructure.
(16) _Section 701:_ RCW 36.96.010 Under this section, the motorsport facility will be included in the Special Purpose District, making it eligible for more bonds and special taxes as well as issuing same.
(17) _Section 704:_ Exemption from paying sales tax on use of natural or manufactured gas.
(18) _Section 705:_ State excise tax exemptions.
(19) _Section 706:_ Tax on telephone access exemption.
Did you know that in addition to all of these concessions given to the motorsport developers that they have also received consideration under The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004? Congress created corporate tax cuts wherein the motorsport developers are allowed to depreciate their clubhouse and/or grandstands so that they are written off in 7 years? That’s quite a deduction on their federal income tax. Wouldn’t you like to write off your mortgage in 7 years?
Under this bill, their facility will be debt free in 7 years, and the people of Washington will still be paying for it for an additional 18!
And did you know that they are also specifically /excluded/ from The Clean Air Act which means they can ~ and do ~ use leaded fuel in their racing vehicles. What impact will all that lead have to our air, water, trees and wildlife? Not to mention the impact on human lungs with the toxins in the air particulates, now a leading cause of lung and heart disease.
All of these economic hand-outs, the additional burden on the taxpayers, the pillaging of our clean air and water make the proposal ultimately unfeasible, impractical, unappealing, and unsavory. Just say “No to Nascar.”
Ed. Note: Ms. Blazejewski was responding to Mr. Cockerham’s story in the Tacoma News Tribune.