It's a topic I delved into quite a bit in 2013, writing the Rays are just like Bass Pro: a private business that creates the exact kind of job the county admits it shouldn't be subsidizing...yet it does anyway:
Bass Pro isn't all that different from a pro sports team: a big-time retail business that makes hard-to-prove and potentially misleading claims about its value as a tourist attraction. In fact, a month ago...Rays' vice president Michael Kalt identified the team as a "retail business" that had trouble getting people to drive more than 30 minutes to visit.Then, I asked if commissioners would also just roll over for the Rays the way they did for Bass Pro:
On Wednesday, the Hillsborough County Commission heard every argument imaginable against public subsidies for a new Bass Pro Shops complex. Then they asked Bass Pro to more or less "open its books" and reveal its annual sales numbers. And promptly after Bass Pro said "no," commissions approved the $6+ million subsidy anyway, 6 votes to 1.After all, why should a private business open its books to demonstrate need, ROI, or job creation when elected officials could just take their word for it?
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