Arena-debt bailout on Washington legislature’s agenda

Nov 28, 2011

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A panel of state lawmakers is considering a $42 million bailout package for a Wenatchee-area agency.

The Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center Public Facilities District has been unable to pay off short-term debt for the Town Toyota Center arena.

A House committee heard testimony about the plan Monday afternoon, showing little resistance but plenty of reluctance. State officials fear that a default will ripple across the state and make it more difficult for similar agencies to borrow.

The proposal that lawmakers are considering would use a state-managed fund for local taxes to make a key bond payment on Thursday and allow local jurisdictions to pay back over time. It would not impact the state budget.

Bill sponsors say they have been reluctant to pursue the latest plan but say it is necessary.