Voters Say No to Convention Center Expansion Project - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Voters Say No to Sales Tax Increase For Convention Center Expansion

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Voters said no on election day to an increased sales tax to fund an expansion of the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. Voters said no on election day to an increased sales tax to fund an expansion of the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.

KENNEWICK, WA-- Voters said no on election day to an increased sales tax to fund an expansion of the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.

The convention center is big, but local officials say it's just not big enough. However, voters sent a clear message on election night that they don't want anymore taxes.

Managers at the Three Rivers Convention Center say the community is losing millions of dollars in potential business each year because they have to turn away conventions that have outgrown their space.

But voters said no to the proposed sales tax increase to fund the project that would've cost them an extra penny on every ten dollar purchase.

"No more taxes. Just don't want anymore taxes. We pay enough and with everything going on with the economy, I don't think we need it," said Sue Burns who is against the increased sales tax.

"If it needs to be expanded private funds should come up to make it expand as far as I can see," said Larry Stockdill who is also against the increased sales tax.

Kennewick Mayor Steve Young says the tax would've led to a greater economic boost, but the voters just can't see that yet.

"It's about moving ahead to the future and getting off dependence on Hanford and creating new jobs and new opportunities. To do that you have to generate revenue. Sometimes you have to invest one penny on ten dollars. I don't think we got that message out very well," Mayor Young said.

Plans were drawn for the project and they were hoping to start construction in the summer. Now the project is on hold, but it's not over. Mayor Young says the PFD will bring this expansion proposal back to the ballot in the near future.

"We're not done. We're going to come back because that convention center, tourism dollars are too critical to the future of our city and to our region," said Young.

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