Wednesday, February 12, 2014

House Speaker Will Weatherford: No New Stadium ‘Checks’ This Year

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, has never been a fan of pro sports handouts, but repeated his disdain on Wednesday.  The News Service of Florida reports:
Weatherford expects the House to craft legislation this year that would redefine the process for the owners of the multimillion-dollar facilities to apply for money.

"Our focus right now is on a process that treats everyone equitably and not writing any checks," Weatherford said during an interview with The News Service of Florida in his Capitol office.     

That means Daytona International Speedway may have to wait another year --- until Weatherford is out of office --- on its request for help with a major renovation project, and the same could be true for anticipated funding requests for a recently granted Major League Soccer franchise in Orlando and a soccer club proposed for Miami.
"If you want to come to the state of Florida, and you want to participate and be a partner with the state of Florida, you have to prove that there is a return on investment," Weatherford said, referring to the process he wants to require. "You have to go through the process with the Department of Economic Opportunity just like everybody else does that wants to create jobs in Florida."
Florida currently spends approx. $2 million a year in general revenue dollars on each of eight stadiums across the state, including Tropicana Field.  Even if The Trop is in St. Petersburg, not Tampa, as the article suggests.

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