|File Photo - Webcast|
The Miami Herald was there:
"Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Monday he may require South Florida hosting a Super Bowl first as a condition for using county hotel taxes to fund part of a $400 million renovation of Sun Life Stadium.
At Monday morning news conference announcing a referendum requirement for the taxes, Gimenez also said he would like to have voters give the county the option to withhold the money if the NFL snubs Miami-Dade in its Super Bowl bid.
'I don't want to be eligible for anything,' Gimenez said. 'I want to be awarded.'
Gimenez said a special election would cost between $3 million and $4 million, and that state law bars a private company from reimbursing taxpayers for an election."
The county needs 60 days to schedule an election. Looks like we will be on the hook for that cost.
“If we as taxpayers are going to invest in the success of our hometown NFL franchise, we ought to do that as their partners not as their benefactors. We want them to succeed; they should want us to benefit as well.”
Among the proposals Rodríguez suggests be considered are:
· To require that so long as the modernized facility remains both privately-owned and privately-operated, that it share revenue with the County in proportion to the share of the public’s investment;
· To provide the County alternate uses for the additional tourist development taxes, such as applying part of the additional taxes collected to pay down the portion of Marlins Stadium debt which is currently being paid by property-tax revenue; and
· To require that whereas the modernized facility remains both privately-owned and privately-operated, if the franchise is sold or transferred that a share of public funds be remitted/returned to the County.
State Representative José Javier Rodríguez (Dist. 112, Miami) celebrates the move to let voters decide a critical piece of the legislative proposal calling for taxpayers to help pay for modernizing the Miami Dolphin’s Sun Life Stadium (SB 306, HB 165).
The proposal calls for millions of dollars in additional state subsidies for the team and for the modernization of Sun Life Stadium funded in part with public dollars. Adding his name to those who support efforts to make Sun Life Stadium the kind of venue that will attract future Super Bowls, Representative Rodriguez believes the Miami Dolphin’s proposal is still very troubling and needs work before it goes before the voters.
Rodríguez made the following statement:
“When it comes to the additional hotel tax, I want to see a better deal for the voters of Miami-Dade to vote on. While it is gratifying that the proposal will be amended to let the voters decide on the extra hotel tax, it now means voters would be choosing between a bad deal or no deal. I’d prefer that to be a choice between a good deal and no deal. We should explore changes that will add protections for the public. Allowing the added tax revenue to be spent for purposes other than Sun Life – such as applying a portion of the funds to pay down debt service on the Marlins Stadium that is currently paid for by taxpayers – or requiring revenue sharing with the County would make the deal a much better one for taxpayers.”
“The decision to hold a referendum is a positive addition to the proposal. However, while Miami-Dade voters would weigh-in on a new hotel tax, they would not be allowed to weigh-in on added state subsidies which are also part of the proposal. It calls for an additional $3 million in annual taxpayer subsidy to the franchise for the next 30 years to operate the modernized facility. That component of the proposal, which would not be subject to voter referendum, is very troubling.”
The team’s owner, owner Stephen Ross (net worth $3.1 billion according to Forbes, 2011), seeks state assistance in its effort to complete a $400 million comprehensive modernization to the aging Sun Life stadium in time for a hoped-for 2016 Super Bowl. Miami faces stiff competition as it bids for this and future events, which offer potential economic payoffs. An “as-new” stadium would make Sun Life Stadium more competitive and avoid the risks of inclement weather which have threatened past Super Bowls. Although the stadium sits on publically owned land, the stadium itself is privately owned and operated by the Miami Dolphins. The team earned $253 million in revenue (according to Forbes, 2011).