Essentially, the Times (which once suggested St. Pete should get $150 million from the Rays) is calling on St. Petersburg to increase how much it's willing to contribute to a new stadium outside of St. Petersburg:
The Tampa Bay Rays' rejection of the St. Petersburg City Council's stadium offer was all too predictable. The proposed Tropicana Field buyout fee would have added $33 million to the cost of any new stadium built outside St. Petersburg in 2020, jeopardizing the Rays' future in the region.
Pinellas County commissioners face tough decisions on allocating resort tax dollars, a key part of any stadium financing package. As soon as the Rays settle on a next-generation stadium site, Trop redevelopment can dramatically transform St. Petersburg's urban center. Losing even a year of momentum costs the city much more than any buyout dollars can possibly cover.It's the first time the Times has been transparent about wanting St. Pete to help pay for a stadium in another municipality, something that would help get a new stadium built much faster.
But here's the thing: regardless of what St. Pete and the Rays negotiate, Pinellas Commission should right now be analyzing whether a new MLB stadium is the best use of its limited bed tax dollars. If that stadium is not the best use of those dollars, the county should be going ahead right now with their other projects anyway.
And if a MLB stadium is the best use of limited tax dollars, then it is a project worth waiting a little longer for, if necessary. Remember, there is no law requiring Pinellas County to spend the bed taxes it collects. A wiser choice might be to save those revenues for a few years (or however long it takes to settle the Stadium Saga) so the county would be in better position to build a stadium if it's so chooses.
Yet the Times continues to advocate for a hurry-up approach to prevent Pinellas County from possibly spending those dollars on a better project.... even though the hurry-up approach may also cost the taxpayers of St. Petersburg more of their earned equity in the team.
A brief history of Times editorials on the Stadium Saga:
- 10/23/15 - Next "Last Chance" comes in two weeks
- 10/22/15 - "Last Chance" for council to save Rays
- 10/7/15 - Hurry up, already! We need to free up editorial space for other news!
- 9/29/15 - Times Doubles Down Support for Rays Sympathizers
- 8/2/15 - Times: We Want Rays to Look in Tampa, but Pinellas Should Raise Taxes Now Anyway Just in Case
- 7/23/15 - In trying to advance stadium interests, newspapers may do opposite
- 6/14/15 - Opportunity cost of keeping Rays costing St. Pete big
- 6/4/15 - Council blind to economic opportunities at Trop
- 5/30/15 - Times cranks up pressure on opponents of Rays compromise
- 5/28/15 - Hurry up and pass MOU or else we'll have to hurry up in a few years
- 3/31/15 - Times suggests replacing councilmembers who oppose MOU
- 3/28/15 - Maybe council will finally listen to us?
- 2/23/15 - Sternberg wrong to hate on St. Pete council...that's our job!
- 2/20/15 - St. Pete should just give up now
- 12/10/14 - It's in St. Pete's financial interest to let the Rays go to Tampa
- 11/7/14 - St. Pete should amend contract b/c Rays lost their manager, GM
- 10/3/14 - Cheers, warning on Hillsborough negotiations
- 6/30/14 - Save Pinellas tax money for new stadium
- 3/31/14 - Hurry Up! Only 14 More Years to Solve Stadium Stalemate!
- 1/1/14 - Kriseman Should Solve Stadium Stalemate Within "Months"
- 12/1/13 - Message to Kriseman: no time to waste
- 11/12/13 - New mayor will bring an open mind to the negotiations
- 11/6/13 - New mayor should renew discussions with Rays
- And a bevy of Bill-Foster bashing too: Oct. 2013 | Sept. 2013 | Sept. 2013 | Feb 2013 | Feb 2013 | Jan 2013 | Jan 2013 | Oct 2012 | April 2012
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