Saturday, May 3, 2014

Legislature Approves Pro Sports Subsidies for Teams/Leagues that Clearly Don't Need Them

On the final day of Florida's legislative session, the House of Representatives gave the final seal of approval to the state's newest stadium handout law (the governor said he would sign the bill).

Aaron Deslatte from the Orlando Sentinel reports while the law will require recipients to "compete" for the subsidies, it will also make even more teams and leagues eligible (see related post on ridiculous inclusion of minor-league soccer).
It would also allow the MLS clubs and Daytona to split $7 million sooner -- in the 2014-15 budget year -- because their projects are already underway sooner. Instead of the full Legislature, only a budget panel would have to approve them.

Some House members objected to that provision Friday, arguing Senate leaders were effectively committing the $7 million this year to the soccer and speedway projects.

"It's no longer a process; it's a handout," said Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami.
These handouts to leagues and teams that clearly cannot show a legit need - and have no interest in even trying - are monies that could have, of course, gone to other state needs like...I don't know...maybe schools or universities?

Which is why the Koch Brothers-backed, conservative activist group Americans for Prosperity condemned the conservative, Republican-dominated legislature:
Abbie MacIver, AFP Florida Director of Policy, issued a statement in response to today’s passage of H.B. 7095, which will provide millions of dollars to professional sports teams for stadium construction and renovation.

“I’m hugely disappointed in today’s passage of HB 7095,” MacIver said. “Today the Florida Legislature gave away millions of taxpayer’s dollars to sports franchise owners rather than returning it to Floridians that could really use the money.

“Rest assured that AFP will educate the constituents of these elected officials about this vote.”
“Twenty-seven Representatives and four Senators stood for economic freedom and fiscal responsibility by voting against the bill,” she said. “The vote will be included on AFP-FL’s 2014 Economic Freedom Scorecard.”

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