Sunday, August 25, 2013

New Poll: Public Subsidies for Stadium in Tampa Unpopular

A new poll shows that while Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is wildly popular in Tampa, his idea of public dollars going toward a new Rays stadium may not be.

According to SaintPetersblog, 584 randomly-chosen Tampa voters - weighted to account for citywide demographics - said they opposed taxpayer dollars going toward a stadium by a 56%-36% margin.  The survey had a 4.1% margin of error and polled all voters; not just likely voters.

A follow-up question asked how voters would prefer to spend the city's $100-$150 million in soon-to-be-available dowtown TIF money.  Only 12% of voters chose the stadium option, trailing homeless solutions (31% ), transportation projects (27%), and police/fire (13%).  It's a bit of a misleading question, however, since the TIF money is quite limited in how it can be spent and can only go toward Downtown Tampa projects.

Now, I haven't seen the actual poll yet and don't know the exact questions, so its tough to draw conclusions.  Especially since - much like you can make statistics say anything you want - you can often determine a poll's outcome by the phrasing of the question.

For example, a series of 2012 polls asked Atlanta residents if they favored tax dollars going toward a new Falcons stadium.  About 70% of residents opposed it.  But when it was explained the tax dollars were from tourist taxes, which came mostly from out-of-towners, the opposition dropped to almost 50%.

The voter opposition didn't matter in the grand scheme anyway, because Atlanta's city council made the decision to subsidize a stadium without voter approval.  But I suspect a few more Tampa voters could be convinced to support a taxpayer-subsidized stadium if the money was coming from tourist or rental car taxes (even though, of course, that money could be used in a host of other ways across the city).

UPDATE - The entire poll is posted here.  The exact question was "Do you believe that taxpayer dollars should be used to help pay for a new Tampa Bay Rays baseball stadium in Tampa?"
Interesting: more Republicans favor tax dollars for a Tampa stadium than Democrats.  Support for stadium subsidies was stronger among white and younger voters; weaker among black and older voters.


  1. Is it me, or are so-called "Tea Party" types relatively silent on stadium issues? You'd think this is just the sort of thing that would have them donning their powdered wigs and flying their Gadsen flags. Truth is, there may be no more useless waste of taxpayer money, nor any clearer example of taxpayer funds flowing from the poor to the rich.

  2. We need to support the middle class and rich and people are simply unable to work for various reasons such as a physical disability. We need to make low income residents take a cut in food stamps and other welfare benefits to pay for a new ballpark. Its so annoying walking into a grocery store and a woman with 3-5 kids paying with food stamps with nasty clothes. Why doesnt the state take those kids away from those parents who keep having kids and cant afford them and weighing down society. Enough is enough. Cut their benefits to help pay for a new ballpark.

    1. MR/MS Anonymous,

      When the state takes the kids away from the parents, where do they go and how pays for their support?

      And I am so sorry you actually have to visit a grocery store in person. Why can't your personal shopper relieve you of that tremendously stressful activity?

  3. Newflash people!, money to solely take care of lower class people isn't a recipe for future success for your cities future. Though you gotta figure if any investment in anything a city can make, it would be a business that gives back & does more then most for it's city, not including the amount of jobs created for the same people, and amount of attracted taxes from outside of town, and into the city to help support the same...
    As for the random poll, we all know from the political polls by phone that we had gotten over the years that they're generally motive bias. Though as a supporter of a sensible city investment toward development, you gotta be encouraged by only 1/2 opposed without being able to give any real details of the project being that Tampa hasn't really given any, and the Rays haven't given any yet either...

  4. B. Dufala,

    Regarding "business that gives back & does more", you mean like the Glazers/TB Bucs where the taxpayers gives $26 million per year to them and they give back $1.1 million (4 cents on the dollar)?

  5. "$26 million per year"?, I'm not familiar w/ your number, but if your referencing the yearly investment toward Raymond James Stadium, a lot of others will say the money was used to build the community, and owned by the community a stadium, it's called investment in infrastructure. It's no secret the stadium was paid off with interest, and is, and will for decades bring in many more millions to the same community that made the same investment!
    If you believe that Tampa doesn't nor hasn't benefited more then the PAID OFF investment, then your just as naive as anyone else. As for the isolated benefits, it's like for instance the extra millions Century Kia Buick made by letting them use their lot for parking for the Super Bowl that they wouldn't made with Raymond James. Bowl games, NCAA Championship games, Super Bowls, college & NFL season games, monster truck rallies, huge concerts, international & national soccer matches, horse shows, high school events, etc. for the past 15 years, and for many decades to come blankets your anger toward your misinformed opinion. Plus, it's not fair to compare the Buccaneers to the Rays. And, if your not a fan of progressively investing in city development to future success then maybe Brooksville, or Inverness, or Bartow might be a more suited hometown for you where you can go to city hall meeting, and debate spending money on filling the 1 pot hole on main street that everyone been swerving around for years, lol, because like it or not big cities do big things for a brighter future in a competitive market to attract businesses, professionals to live, and host hundreds of events that attracts visitors like the National Veterans Wheelchair Games that used Ray Jay among other venues through out the area that brought in close to $5 million extra in direct revenue for our city of Tampa. Good Luck living the more simple life in Wauchula, FL, lol...

    1. B. Dufala,

      Read below to see where I get the $26 million per year. So riddle me this 'bat man'? If RayJay is paid off how come the TSA financial documents show 'bond debt service' of $14 million? RayJay is fully owned by the community, and all capex and opex is paid by the community. On the other hand, the Glazers get the naming rights fees, and 100% of the 1st $2 million of non-Bucs revenues - e.g. USF football games, charity events such as 'Walk fo Autism Now', etc. which far exceeds their $3.5 million rent for RayJay. Not to mention, the Glazers get 50% of all revenues beyond the 1st $2 million.

      What the Glazers get:
      • $24.5 million per year for full care and feeding of Raymond James Stadium – reviewing TSA stadium budget documents for FY 2011-2012 and FY 2012-2013 available at show the following approximate costs for each of the 2 fiscal years:
      o Stadium Operating Expenses over revenues = $ 2 million
      o Bond debt service =$14 million
      o Capital project/improvements =$ 8.5 million
       This includes such essentials as ‘Suite Furnishings, Suite Ice Makers, and Suite Refrigerators at a taxpayer cost of $2.7 million. Meanwhile my autistic son’s teacher’s aide at Freedom High School makes $8.29 per hour with NO BENEFITS.
      • $1.6 million per year after netting out the rent paid by the Glazers ($3.5 million) with the $2.3 million they receive for RayJay naming rights and the $2.8 million they receive as revenue for non-Bucs events at the stadium. The Glazers get 100% of the 1st $2 million + 50% of everything beyond the $2 million threshold.
      • So, the Glazers are getting about $26 million per year – and this is a 30-year deal that does not end until 2026.

      Well, there's still a balance because of the schools & libraries portion added in, though for the hundredth time, even when the whole loan is paid off with interest, just because there's still a mortgage loan doesn't mean there isn't money being made! Newsflash! Just because someone has a mortgage loan on their house, doesn't mean they're in "debt", people generally make more money then their mortgage to buy other things & save, and the house in time becomes worth more then the mortgage! And yes, in theory it made Glazer wealthier, but his part isn't worth much without Tampa's stadium...
      Again, the Buccaneers are NOT the Rays...
      And did you find a small digressive town to live in yet? -

    3. "and the house in time becomes worth more then the mortgage."

      Umm, not always. Ask anyone who paid too much for their home from 2005-2008: like any investment, there is risk involved, and if you pay too much for that mortgage, you may never recover your investment.

    4. B.Dufala,

      I did overstate a bit that $14,000,000 is the debt service for RayJay. Actually it is about $11,000.000 - which has nothing do to with schools and libraries.

      When the loan is paid off it is paid off by the Hillsborough County taxpayers, not by the Glazers - so instead of this money going toward worthy civic causes it is going into the pockets of the Glazers. And I am fully aware that Stu Sternberg is not the Glazer family, but he is definitely on a trajectory to asymptotically approach the Glazers in their greed and total out-of-touch with the community they are sucking funds from.

      And why should I leave the town where I am paying for the Stadium, hopefully not soon to be the Stadia?

    5. LOL, wayda skip the accurate point made, and come up with more "maybes" & "what ifs" NO'ah. And if you pay off the mortgage your place will ALWAYS be worth more then the balance of the loan you don't have anymore, smart alec!
      Scott, look regardless of balances or a sweet deals or not for Glazers, bottom line is that Raymond James Stadium is better for & brings in extra revenue to Hillsborough co. then not having it! And just think, if you moved to lil' Brooksville you wouldn't have to stress about living in a big city that does big things for a brighter future! Again you can argue @ town hall meetings about the cost of street lights along main street, and drive 40 miles down to Tampa on Sundays to take your money from Hernando and spend it in Hillsborough like a stadium is designed to do for county revenue...

  6. @Anonymous.8/25 2:05 PM: You are joking, right?

  7. Um no pj i am not.