This means WAR!

April 23, 2009 6:44 PM

Murray drafts revenge amendment against WSU football boosters

Posted by Jim Brunner

Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, has made no secret of his contempt for the Washington State University football boosters who have led a loud campaign against $150 million in taxpayer money for a Husky Stadium renovation.

"I think you are launching a provincial and parochial war," Murray told some Cougar alums leading the charge at a public hearing in December.

He warned them they'd be "setting off a bomb" if they continued to try to mess with the UW project.

The Cougar crowd didn't quit, of course. They've bombarded legislators with phone calls and e-mails, and hired a plane to fly around the Capitol dome on Wednesday with a banner reading "No Husky Stadium Bailout Tax!"

All that yowling helped kill Murray's proposal, Substitute Senate Bill 6116, which would have allowed King County to direct some local taxes to the Husky Stadium project (as well as a KeyArena expansion, Safeco Field, arts and low-income housing.)

So today, Murray drafted an amendment he says he'll propose to the state operating budget -- an amendment that would force the WSU boosters to live with the consequences of a no-public-money-for-stadiums philosophy.

The amendment reads:

"No state funds, tuition revenues, or student fees shall be used to pay for the operating expenses of intercollegiate athletic programs at any of the public research universities within the state. Any state funds or tuition revenues currently being used for this purpose shall be used for academic instruction."

That's targeted at WSU's athletic department, which, according to spokesman Bill Stevens, receives about $2 million a year from the university (or about 8 percent of the athletic department budget.)


It also could make trouble for Wazzu's Martin Stadium renovation project, which is being funded in part with student fees of $25 a semester for undergrads. WSU students voted to accept the fees in 2006 to help pay for the stadium.

"I have heard the message loud and clear, state taxes should not be used for sports," Murray told me tonight.

I'm not sure this is really going anywhere, but it should make for some fiery floor speeches if Murray really wants to drive home his point.

As a certain duck once said: "Of course you realize, this means war!"

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