OLYMPIA, Wash. – A follow-up now to a story we first brought you in December. It was about the default of an under-performing hockey and concert arena in Wenatchee . Governor Chris Gregoire recently signed into law a rescue plan for that project. The new law also aims to prevent future municipal defaults.
Here’s the quick back story. On December 1st of last year, the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee went into default. This happened after the two counties and seven small cities that backed the events center missed a $42 million balloon payment. The new law signed by the governor authorizes local tax increases to pay off the debt. Voters in parts of North Central Washington will be asked to approve the tax hike this April. Meanwhile, public facilities districts elsewhere in Washington will be subject to more state oversight. For instance, in the future, before any new debt is issued, the state Department of Commerce must conduct an independent financial review. Despite the default, Wenatchee’s Town Toyota Center remains open for minor league hockey and other events.
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