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Sports Welfare’s Engines: Lawmakers Prep $60-Million Tax Break to Daytona Speedway

| April 8, 2013

Your taxes at work. (Nick Ledford)

Your taxes at work. (Nick Ledford)

The race against the legislative clock is on for Daytona International Speedway and other sports venues seeking state sales tax dollars.

A measure (SB 1394) that could land more than $60 million in sales tax rebates for the speedway was unanimously supported by the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on Monday.

Officials for the racetrack said the money is needed to help the complex – which annually hosts what is considered NASCAR’s most prestigious race – “remain relevant.”

Still, committee Chairwoman Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, cautioned that the speedway may be “late to the party” against the other ventures and as a ranking system for stadium sales tax rebates is also in the legislative pipeline.

With four weeks remaining in the session, the bill has three additional committee stops – the Finance and Tax Appropriations Subcommittee and the Appropriations and Rules committees. Meanwhile, the House companion (HB 1049) has only been heard in one committee, the Finance and Tax Subcommittee.

But backers of the proposal, out in force at the committee meeting Monday, remain confident the measure can weave through the legislative traffic.

“We’ve got time, the session moves, things happen,” said the measure’s sponsor Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange.

Hukill also downplayed concerns about a proposal (SB 406) by Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, which would require the state Department of Economic Opportunity to rank the economic impact of organizations seeking the government assistance and the potential economic impacts of the stadium work.

The Miami Dolphins are seeking $3 million a year in sales tax rebates (SB 306) for Sun Life Stadium improvements, while $2 million a year has also been requested for both EverBank Field in Jacksonville (HB 721) and for the construction of a stadium in Central Florida (HB 219) with a goal of attracting a Major League Soccer expansion franchise.

Similar to Daytona, each stadium proposal is for 30 years.

“I don’t want to put one against the other,” Hukill said, “but we’d be a very, very high ranking by the fact that the investment is more than double or triple most of the other proposals. Plus we’re asking for all the (construction) money after we spend the money.”

In addition to the $2 million a year in sales tax rebates, the speedway is also seeking refunds on sales taxes for construction materials – estimated at $10 million – that under Hukill’s proposal can only be requested after the more-than $250 million project is completed.

International Speedway Corporation, the owner of the speedway, plans to use the sales tax money to offset some of the improvements planned for the raceway, which may include an overhaul of the front-stretch grandstand and a redesigned midway.


“We think it’s important that we remain relevant in the marketplace,” ISC President John Saunders said during a teleconference call last Thursday. “You see across the country that sports stadiums are evolving with modern amenities.”

The potential modern amenities for Daytona include wider seating, plush luxury boxes and enhanced Wi-Fi service.

The Senate committee vote comes after International Speedway Corporation announced last Thursday that the net income for the company during the first quarter of 2013, which included the 55th running of the Daytona 500, was $13.5 million.

The net total was down from the $17.1 million reported for the same period a year earlier.

In its release and during the teleconference call, Saunders claimed that the speedway and other company operations in Daytona Beach generate $1.6 billion annually for Florida.

The company, which also owns Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, reported that its overall revenue for the first three months of 2013 was $128.6 million, a $1.2 million increase from the same period a year earlier.

–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

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14 Responses for “Sports Welfare’s Engines: Lawmakers Prep $60-Million Tax Break to Daytona Speedway”

  1. Edman says:

    What a pile of bull. We have no money for schools or Medicare or environmentally sensitive land purchases but we can give tons of money to already profitable businesses. Florida’s representatives don’t give a crap about citizens, just their donors. What cowards; they all need to be thrown out of office!

  2. Sad Times says:

    There they go again…… tax breaks for the rich….. while the middle class pays and pays and pays. I guess it will never stop…. greed takes over… and over…. and over!

  3. confidential says:

    These wealthy corporation with their owners, Frances family listed in the Forbes 500 world richest, shines for greed to no end…give me more of those tax refunds while denying medical care to children of the poor and unemployed and extension of unemployment benefits to the unemployed and cutting benefits to Social Security and Medicare, also increasing our Floridians insurance premium and taxes. This is what the Teabag legislators do in Tallahassee after this read state seats them there. Our taxes are to pay for our services and infrastructure for all and not for the sport stadiums that make these thieves, billonaires. No one pays for my shop renovations or expansion if I want them…Why should we pay the Frances for theirs or the Aronson’s Dolphin Miami Stadium tax breaks on top the zerp tax his Carnival Cruise Lines get.

    Everything I sell in my shop pay sales tax why not them? Specially if alcohol and building materials? Their Speedway only has helped to promote for decades the slum, blight, drugs and prostitution businesses flourishing around it in Daytona Beach, that has no $$ for their needy but utilizes millions of our hard earned tax payers revenues to gift away to the Nascar Speedway Corporation aka Frances family. What are these politicians afraid of..? that Nascar will take off…? let them go and invite Formula One to use the facilities for the fair lease price and not the peanuts that Nascar pays in ridiculous rent for it on topofall the refunded taxes!

    This greedy family started these races in the beach then given the beach erosion and contamination, were moved to the current location and from here is where they bleed Daytona Beach to make the millions for all their other Speedway’s across the country and still not enough. They want more…meanwhile look what Daytona off the Beach looks like and thank them and Tallahassee for that.

  4. confidential says:

    I have my serious doubts that Nascar and its begging buddies bring in 1.6 billion revenue to Florida…just look at Daytona off the Beach now and for the past 20 years I lived here. Look at Florida’s lack of sufficient roads and highways East to West and North and South and the poverty rate and homeless everywhere.

  5. Sally says:

    Would someone please tell me why an entity that makes $13.5 million needs a tax break? And no $ for the arts, education, health care (remember that bill in our legislature refusing Federal money for health care?) How do these people sleep at night?

  6. Biz owner says:

    Welfare for businesses and the wealthy. These are the same people that complain about social programs. I guess iISC offered Hukills son a job since her campaign is over and that money train has left the station.

  7. John Boy says:

    The France family pays $50,000. a year to lease the land from the City and get a $60 Million dollars tax break. I think the City would be better off by not renewing the lease and telling MASCAR to pack up and leave.

  8. confidential says:

    Nascar Speedway Corporation and their owners, Frances family listed in the Forbes 500 world richest, shines for greed to no end…give me more of those tax refunds while denying medical care to children of the poor and unemployed and extension of unemployment benefits to the unemployed and cutting benefits to Social Security and Medicare, also increasing our Floridians insurance premium and taxes. This is what the Teabag legislators do in Tallahassee after this read state seats them there. Our taxes are to pay for our services and infrastructure for all and not for the sport stadiums that make these thieves, billonaires. No one pays for my shop renovations or expansion if I want them…Why should we pay the Frances for theirs or the Aronson’s Dolphin Miami Stadium tax breaks on top the zero tax his Carnival Cruise Lines get.

    Everything I sell in my shop pay sales tax why not them? Specially if alcohol and building materials? Their Speedway only has helped to promote for decades the slum, blight, drugs and prostitution businesses flourishing around it in Daytona Beach, that has no $$ for their needy but utilizes millions of our hard earned tax payers revenues to gift away to the Nascar Speedway Corporation aka Frances family. What are these politicians afraid of..? that Nascar will take off…? let them go and invite Formula One to use the facilities for the fair lease price and not the peanuts that Nascar pays in ridiculous rent for it on top of all the refunded taxes!

    This greedy family started these races in the beach then given the beach erosion and contamination, were moved to the current location and from here is where they bleed Daytona Beach to make the millions for all their other Speedway’s across the country and still not enough. They want more…meanwhile look what Daytona off the Beach looks like and thank them and Tallahassee for that.

  9. notasenior says:

    If NASCAR doesn’t get the tax breaks what are they going to do, move out? Doubtful. NASCAR can start by budgeting better – step one stop paying drivers NOT to compete.

  10. Troy says:

    Funny how these right wing, free market freeloaders line up at the public trough when there’s an opportunity to fleece us taxpayers. Not. And in their grandiose plans for renovations, there’s not one mention of money to further insure the safety of fans.

    • Kevin says:

      Freeloaders in what way? The fact is it is based on future revenues not product and services they are purchasing at “our” cost (not that you and I write checks directly out of our pockets for this). How about always making it about class warfare instead of realizing they have a giant payroll that provides many decent jobs for local families. Not to mention they didn’t collapse during the hardest of times and don’t run up trillion dollar deficits.

  11. john r. says:

    Just what the France family needs. The race fans have made them rich already.They have got where they are on the backs of us poor bastards now. Just like the tax payers paid for their walkway over hwy 92, and guess who benefits from that.

  12. r&r says:

    This is a bunch of Bull Crap. This money belongs to the people and the surrounding cities and countys. I am a NACAR fan and over the years they have treated the local communities with respect. Not any longer, the way it looks..

  13. confidential says:

    To Edman …our chances to materialize your correct wish is coming as soon a 2014. Lets boot them all.

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