Sunday, August 2, 2015

Times: We Want Rays to Look in Tampa, but Pinellas Should Raise Taxes Now Anyway Just in Case

Never missing an opportunity to push for a new taxpayer-funded Rays stadium, the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board opined this weekend that Pinellas County should increase its tax on hotel and resort guests...but not spend it on anything in particular.

"The emphasis should be on remaining flexible rather than on locking in specific allocations of the revenue for tourism advertising and construction projects," the board wrote, all in an effort to remain in position to help fund a new Rays stadium in Pinellas County.

Of course, the paper has also advocated moving the Rays to Hillsborough County....but heck, if Pinellas County is newly-eligible to raise taxes on tourists, what other option would there be?  Besides not raising taxes, of course...

ALSO READ: In Trying to Advance Interests, Newspapers May Do Opposite on Rays Stadium

While the Times may be advocating county leaders keep their options open, it is also continuing to push the region into a potential bidding war over the Rays' services, which would only serve to provide the team more leverage over taxpayers.  But by now, we all know that's the end game here anyway, right?

To the editorial board's credit, the Times has maintained its position that Pinellas County should save up its pennies for a possible Rays stadium.  But on the other hand, it has all-but-ceased its one-time push for the Rays to open their books and actually show a financial need for public help.

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But fear not - even if Pinellas doesn't fund a new Rays stadium, the newspaper suggests plenty of other private businesses would be eager for taxpayer handouts, "including a new spring training home for the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin and a soccer stadium for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in St. Petersburg."

Maybe they missed what happened in Orlando?  Or Boston?

UPDATE 8/4: Pinellas Commissioners voted 5-2 to increase the bed tax {link to Times' site}, but without any limits or direction on what it can be spent on.

A brief history of Times editorials on the Stadium Saga:
The history goes further back than that, but for a good synopsis, watch my 2010 piece on newspapers cheerleading for new stadium projects.


  1. Doesn't matter what St Pete does - the Rays want OUT of St Pete... or has no one been listening?

  2. The girl says I don't want to go out with you and the guy keep saying, you know, I have a big house with big yard to raise our kids.

    What are the chance the girl is going to listen to him? I know, she signed a contract because she really needed to have a home in the last 17 years, but now she's turning 18 years old and she would like to make her own decisions.

    And there's a guy, speaking english and french, that is very attractive ...

    Stay Tuned for more details on this exciting soap opera!

  3. The Rays will announce their move to the new stadium that will be built near Ybor. The shovels are ready, the plan is set, it's only a few formalities at this point. You can take that to the bank!

  4. So, the Rays, who have gone on record stating that they will not discuss this during the season, will make an announcement about a new stadium at Ybor, which is located in Tampa? And all this BEFORE they reach a settlement agreement of some kind with St Pete allowing them out of their iron-clad agreement and allowing them to even discuss a site outside of St Pete's... wow, please tell me the name of your Greek bank!

  5. The wheels are in motion for a stadium in Ybor. You can take that to the bank!

  6. Proof besides your word would help... else, it's just greek bank speak.

  7. So now it's "the wheels are in motion" as opposed to your previous proclamation of "Rays will announce their move to the new stadium that will be built near Ybor."

  8. It seems as though something is happening in Tampa. I've spoken to a few people as well. From what I can gather, there are "legs" to the Ybor stadium story.

    1. I've heard something similar as well.

    2. Do you have any details of said conversation? That's great news

  9. Was there a conflict of interest statement in the editorial?

  10. I wouldn't be surprised if Mayor Buckhorn has been working behind the scenes on this. I used to live in the Tampa area but now live in Atlanta. We have our own issues to deal with regarding stadiums.