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Washington State Lawmaker: Let's raise money by selling naming rights to publicly owned facilities

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By Doug Powers  •  January 28, 2013 03:13 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

Jesse Ventura once suggested that politicans be required to wear NASCAR-style racing suits sporting patches prominently featuring the names of their donors. This would be the government building equivalent, except one Washington state lawmaker thinks it could also help stock the empty public coffers:

As many state and local governments across the nation deal with the aftermath of severe budget cuts prompted by the Great Recession, a Washington state lawmaker has put forth a plan to increase revenue without raising taxes: Allow the sale of naming rights to publicly owned facilities.

“I’m trying to think out of the box and come up with some revenue for our local folks and for our state that isn’t another dollar out of our taxpayers’ wallets,” said Republican state Rep. Jan Angel.

The practice has been in place elsewhere for decades, most prominently on sports venues. The results have ranged from memorable, Busch Stadium in St. Louis, to regrettably, Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif.

The proposal has sparked a measure of skepticism in Washington state among those who think it would give the appearance that government influence is for sale [heaven forbid anybody should ever get that idea – DP].

“I think perhaps of the CenturyLink Capitol building or something like that,” said Democratic state Rep. Sam Hunt, during a recent committee hearing. “How far could this go?”

Angel’s plans include measures that would allow private bidders to pay state and local governments for the right to name everything from government buildings to schools. She maintains that reception to her bills has been very positive.

The “Henry M. Jackson/Starbucks Federal Building” has a nice ring to it.

That kind of thing could catch on in DC, from the “LegalZoom.com Supreme Court Building” and “Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. US Capitol” all the way to the “Solyndra White House” (I’m hoping to raise enough to buy a sponsorship on behalf of the defunct “green jobs” money pit if this thing goes national).

**Written by Doug Powers

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