Thursday, February 17, 2011

Florida Lawmaker Tries Blocking Stadium Funding Again

State Sen. Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton), one of the world's biggest opponents of stadium subsidies, is at it again. Bennett re-filed legislation today to prevent public financing of sports stadiums without voter approval.

I remember covering a similar bill he filed in 2009, but it never made it out of committee. He took it as a hint not to file again in 2010.

But hope springs anew for Bennett in 2011, the era of anti-tax sentiments. He's been taking aim at an effort in Miami to renovate Sun Life Stadium with public dollars and hasn't been shy in the past about the need for private businesses to build their own stadiums.

In 2005, when the "Tea Party" was nothing more than a line in a history book, Bennett told the Sports Business Daily, "if you can afford to pay somebody $53 million to throw a baseball 90 feet, you can afford your own damn stadium. I believe you should support your business and I’ll support mine. Nobody ever gave me a handout. What kind of deal is that?”

He updated his comments in 2011, saying, "If you can pay someone $52 million to play the game of baseball, certainly you can build your own stadium with your own money.”

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