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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 29, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Funding schools vs. sports

Thank legislators for school-funding problem

Why is it that school supporters always attempt to make it an argument about funding schools versus funding for sports stadiums? [“Time to put education ahead of sports,” Opinion, Christine Johnson-Duell guest commentary, April 27] Sports fans never argue that we are providing too much money for schools. Why can’t we have both?

I agree that teachers are underpaid and that class sizes need to be smaller. We also need more innovation in our schools and more effective methods in teaching.

State legislators didn’t overturn the will of the voters with regard to funding Safeco Field and Qwest Field. The voters rejected a sales-tax increase to pay for those two facilities. The state implemented taxes on hotels and restaurants. Now the stadiums are funded mostly by tourists and not state residents. Some of these tourists or business people will stay additional days to take in sports events, increasing the money they spend while in Seattle. The stadiums are revenue-generators because of the taxes that are assessed on tickets and franchise fees paid by vendors, regardless of the financial conditions of the sports teams.

A 1 percent tax on the Seattle Mariners, as proposed by Christine Johnson-Duell, is absurd. The Mariners lost 101 games last year and also lost millions of dollars at the gate. This makes as much sense as taxing Boeing, Amazon or Microsoft, all of which lost money in the past year’s economy.

We should keep funding our stadiums by taxing visitors to our state and not state taxpayers. As for school funding, we should thank our gutless legislators for not addressing the problem.

— Stan Terry, Shoreline

Comments | More in Education, Sports

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