According to a lobbyist quoted in the Sunshine State News, Scott begged the House Speaker, Will Weatherford, to pass the Sun Life Stadium renovation bill:
“The governor was encouraging the speaker of the House to hear the bill,” Ron Book, one of the state's most influential lobbyists, tells Sunshine State News of a rare visit Scott paid to Weatherford's office on May 2, second-to-last day of session.Weatherford responded by saying he didn't bring the bill to the House floor because it simply didn't have the votes for passage.
“The concept, that because an employer creates jobs they should be subsidized with taxpayer money, is a flawed concept,” (Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami) tells SSN. “Every business, from the one man selling water bottles at the corner of the street to Walt Disney and Publix, they create jobs and they employ people. [Government] should provide a fair tax structure, an educated workforce, and a safe community so that businesses, whatever they are, may be able to prosper.”
Book tells SSN there are no current plans for the stadium funding bill to be revived next session, but that's little comfort to Trujillo, who warns, "They're going to be back; maybe not the Dolphins, but the concept of the taxpayer subsidizing professional sports franchises will come back in one way or another.”
Lay Republican activist Norman Braman -- owner of Braman Honda car dealerships, former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, and lead opponent of the stadium bill – sounded more relieved than jubilant over the demise of the legislation, which he condemns as just so much “corporate welfare.”
"It's over, I've got a lot of other things to be concerned with here; I'm not a sore winner,” the successful billionaire who prides himself on never having received, or asked for, a taxpayer subsidy tells SSN. “[The bill's defeat] is a great win for the taxpayers. I don't think the taxpayers win too many these days, but I'm very pleased by it. I think despite some reactions that I have heard in the community, the community's very pleased as well.”
Scott did not come out publicly for or against HB 1828 during the 60-day session, though his advisers did draw up a list of “principles” the bill should comply with in order for the governor to give it his consideration. According to the Tampa Bay Times, that included Dolphins owner Stephen Ross – a multibillionaire and one of the wealthiest men in America – having to match some of the costs of the improvements, the Dolphins themselves funding a study on the economic impact of the improvements, and a requirement that subsidies be approved by local voter referenda.
Governor Scott, meanwhile, indicated the bill was necessary to bring much-needed Super Bowls back to Florida.
And that's how it goes in the Stadium Game...