Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lawmakers Kick Can Down the Road...Again...on State Stadium Subsidies

UPDATE: Anyone who says this new "competitive" process would make the stadium subsidy process less political and more subjective is just kidding themselves.  The 14 members selected by legislative leadership to the Joint Legislative Budget Commission decided to simply pass the stadium applications on to the full legislature, where they'll be lobbied and fought over for the next 10 weeks.

UPDATE 2: The News Service of Florida reports much of the commission was anti-subsidy, with future House Speaker Richard Corcoran calling the subsidies "a reversed, perverse Robin Hood...every economist, every study shows there is not any economic development to these proposals." Saint Petersblog postulates the powerful lobbyists working for the pro teams may have been responsible.  But either way, it adds another level of mockery to an already-lampooned process.  Conservative group American for Prosperity clearly wasn't happy with the GOP-led commission either.

Today is not just another big stadium day in St. Pete (read about this morning's Rays workshop) - Tallahassee will also tackle stadium subsidies with four hungry mouths waiting at the taxpayer trough.  (too harsh?)

This blog has already pointed out:
  • Florida's new stadium subsidy "competition" is no different than the old incentives, except way more money will be doled out;
  • The process was designed to reduce lobbying in the state capital, but it's only increased it;
  • Much of the "new" tax revenue the renovations will create are from higher ticket prices & inflation, not new visitors to Florida;
  • The law was written in a sneaky way so that the Miami Dolphins & Daytona International Speedway aren't required to prove an increase in tax receipts like other teams do;
  • Daytona and the Dolphins want to use state money to reduce their facilities' capacities;
  • State Sen. Latvala received more than $120k from the teams and owners that benefited from his 2014 stadium bill;
  • Even though state economists doubt the ROI of stadium subsidies, Gov. Scott has seemingly done everything possible to allow them to continue.
Looking forward to the developments this afternoon in the capital!

2/12/15 - Conservative group launches anti-stadium subsidy radio ad

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