It's still stuck in the State House Ways and Means Committee, waiting for a vote to get it out of there and on its bumpy journey towards the governor's pen.
As summarized by Sara Edwards of 4Culture:
HB 1997 was just scheduled for executive session in the House Ways and Means Committee. If it is voted out of Committee with a “do pass” recommendation, then it goes to House Rules which decides which bills go to the floor for a vote. If it goes to the floor and is passed, it goes over to the Senate to work its way through that chamber. It would probably be referred to Senate Ways and Means. Senate Ways and Means would also have to recommend “do pass,” after which it heads to Senate Rules, which will decide whether to send it for a Senate floor vote. If it passes in the Senate, it goes to the Governor for signature.
So... exciting! I went down to Olympia on Tuesday to sit in the Ways and Means hearing for the bill. I'll spare you all the details becauzzzzzzzz...
But the highlights: at least a dozen people testified for it, including Dow Constantine, Josh LaBelle of the Moore and the Paramount theaters, Rep. Tina Orwall, Matt Larson (mayor of Snoqualmie), and others. Two or three folks testified against it, mostly folks from rental-car agencies who are irritated by the idea that a tax on their business that was scheduled to end will be extended...
- This chart shows how taxes would be extended and rearranged to support HB 1997. As Rep. Tina Orwall said: "It's not a simple bill."
And there's the problem.
Despite the dozens and dozens of 4Culture supporters at the hearing (wearing their yellow scarves so they could be easily identified by the reps), HB 1997 is a vote to extend some taxes (on rental cars, on food and beverage, on hotel/motel). No matter how noble the cause, it is a vote to extend taxes that were scheduled to end.
And if you'll remember, four months ago voters overwhelmingly approved an initiative that would require a 2/3 majority in Olympia to raise taxes.
HB 1997 wouldn't require that 2/3 majority (for some reasons I won't get into here, becauzzzzz), but lawmakers are keenly aware of the anti-tax winds blowing around the state. And they might be reluctant to vote for anything—no matter how noble, no matter how small the actual tax burden—that could be used against them next election.
So I watched the 4Culture hopefuls testify (some powerful like Constantine, some just folks) and watched the lobbyists while they watched the hopefuls. Two of the lobbyists, smug-looking pricks with suits and badges that read "The Third House," smiled at each other sardonically during testimony.
One leaned over to the other and said: "C'mon, let's end this fucking King County love-fest."
The other replied: "Don't worry. I don't think this bill is going anywhere."
And Edwards from 4Culture just texted me:
No updates. The bill is still in Ways and Means waiting for a vote. We are keeping an eye on it.
If you want to contact your legislator—especially if he or she is on the House Ways and Means Committee—and opine about HB 1997, you can find him or her here.