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NFL’s Dolphins Want $3 Million a Year in Taxpayer Subsidies, Daytona Speedway May Be Next

| October 22, 2015

It's not like they need the money. (c FlaglerLive)

It’s not like they need the money. (c FlaglerLive)

The home of the Miami Dolphins is the first to take the field seeking state money in 2016 for stadium projects, though such spending could continue to run into opposition in the Florida House.

South Florida Stadium LLC, which oversees Sun Life Stadium, has again applied for up to $90 million in sales-tax dollars — up to $3 million a year over 30 years — as part of at least $350 million in renovations at the stadium that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has said he will pay.

The work, being done in phases, has already begun and is expected to be completed in 2017.

The organization resubmitted its 222-page application, which was among four stadium-funding proposals that failed to get House support earlier this year.

“For the avoidance of doubt, South Florida Stadium LLC is requesting … the reactivation of the application submitted to the department on August 29, 2014,” Marcus Bach-Armas, South Florida Stadium director of legal and government affairs, wrote last week to the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

Proponents of stadium funding say the money goes to projects that create jobs, attract tourists and increase regional trade. Critics, such as the conservative-advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, call stadium funding “corporate welfare.”

The deadline to file proposals is Nov. 1. However, any distributions would ultimately need the support of the House. Earlier this year, House leaders turned back attempts to win state money for South Florida Stadium, Daytona International Speedway, Jacksonville’s EverBank Field and a soccer stadium in downtown Orlando.

“At this time, we are unaware that any applications have been submitted to the Department of Economic Opportunity,” House spokesman Michael Williams said in an email Wednesday. “The department has until February 1st to submit any applications to the Legislature for approval.”

Ron Book, a lobbyist for Sun Life Stadium, expressed optimism but said he is taking the process “one step at a time.”

“The whole idea is economic development,” Book said this week. “I think the projects, whatever they are, will stand on their merits.”

Senators expect other stadiums to apply.

“In Sen. (Dorothy) Hukill’s district there is a wonderful project going on,” Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Latvala, said during a committee meeting Tuesday. “And there’s rumors in Sen. (Jeff) Brandes’ and I’s area that the Bucs want to do a major facelift to the facility there, but we’re just sitting still because we didn’t get an evaluation.”

The Daytona International Speedway is undergoing a $400 million renovation known as Daytona Rising. Hukill, R-Port Orange, represents a large part of Volusia County.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who play in the Hillsborough County-owned Raymond James Stadium, have been in discussions with the county and the Tampa Sports Authority for $75 million to $100 million in upgrades to the facility.

Jeff Hartley, a lobbyist for Hillsborough County, said Wednesday he hasn’t received direction to be involved in any state funding request.

The Legislature created a new funding method for professional stadiums in 2014 in an attempt to reduce the lobbying from prior years for state money.

The law gives the Department of Economic Opportunity 60 days to determine if an application should go forward and to rank all the applications by Feb. 1, something the agency didn’t do with the four proposals that were made for the 2015 legislative session.

The lack of rankings is something that still bothers Latvala.

“As I recall last year, rather than evaluating those proposals, your department chose not to evaluate those proposals,” Latvala told department Executive Director Jesse Panuccio on Tuesday. “And to the best of my knowledge, today, none of those projects or none of those applications have been accepted.”

Panuccio replied that the law didn’t require his agency to rank the initial round of projects, but it would do so if enough applications are received for the 2016 round.

“We’ll see what comes in this year and proceed accordingly,” Panuccio said.

Lawmakers ended up getting state economists to evaluate and rank the projects submitted for the 2015 session.

The Orlando soccer stadium, as a new facility, got the top ranking for most economic impact. Sun Life Stadium was third, ahead of the speedway.

In May, Flavio Augusto da Silva, the owner of the Major League Soccer franchise Orlando City, announced that the franchise would privately pay to build a 25,000- to 28,000-seat stadium.

–News Service of Florida

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12 Responses for “NFL’s Dolphins Want $3 Million a Year in Taxpayer Subsidies, Daytona Speedway May Be Next”

  1. layla says:

    Folks, those of you who have not been voting here for the past few years are now beginning to see the results of that.

    If you don’t see any reason why YOU should be supporting this, then for God’s sake, show up and vote for every election. If not, you may as well just hand them your wallet and your saving’s account.


    Shame that our money goes for sports and not for the best interests and welfare of us taxpayers.. The violins and day old loaves of bread are flaunted in our faces by our chosen leaders when we ask for some of our money back for necessities when all the while they are throwing ‘gold’ at anything that rings fun and games

  3. Bill says:

    Do the NFL and NASCAR truly NEED our tax $s NOPE. Now if we are talking about some sort of tax breaks that’s a different story But to give tax $s to such organization’s/businesses no way. tax breaks should be the same for any bossiness big or small politically connected or not.

  4. Obama 2015 says:

    The Miami Dolphins signed Ndamukong Suh to a 6 year, $114,375,000 contract including a $25,500,000 signing bonus with $59,955,000 guaranteed money. Now they want the tax payers to pick up $3 Mill a year so they can sell more tickets that most of their fan base can’t afford?

    If they wanted tax dollars to improve the roads to the stadium, new signs or to improve some mass transit that’s a good investment but if they can pay one player 114 million for 6 years of service I think they can find the money to make the stadium changes on their own dime.

    NASCAR profits are about $1 billion and Sprint Nextel Corporation, the sponsor of NASCAR’s top series, paid an estimated $750 million for 10 year’s worth of naming rights. For Florida to provide any more tax breaks to a sport that only draws for a few races while that huge track is empty most of the year is insane. Daytona has done enough to improve the city around the track.

  5. BIG JOHN says:


  6. David S says:

    Obama you have a good point,I have been a dolphins fan for more than 30 years and I really dont agree with these high contracts that some of these NFL players are paid .I dont care if they win the super bowl for 5 years in a row.Look at what some of these players were making 20 or 30 yrs ago and they played just as hard for very little. It is very expensive to attend a game now remember that its the fans who pay these players their weekly paycheck.

  7. confidential says:

    It is time that we the people stop subsidizing these wealthy sports venues. This is non sense. Always the GOP cutting taxpayers funds for education, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Workers Unemployment Benefits while unemployment grows like a plague because the greedy corporations move manufacturing overseas to benefit from slave wages. When are we going to go to the ballot box with a desire for real change? Look even here the Public Utility Commission shamefully approved the FPL raise in our rates to fund more nuclear reactors. What about some wind, solar and ocean tides generated energy instead?
    Do the people remember all this in elections?

  8. Brian says:

    In defense of Dolphins the Robbie family built that stadium out of their own pocket , new owner Stephen Ross wanted a two yr loan from state to do renovations and was turned down, so he`s paying for it himself , now this state and its legislators and their feeble brains that are entertained by cars making left turns , ignorant rednecks get more money for that ridiculous BS, they make mega bucks , but refused to resurface track until it fell apart during a race, just GREED and Stupidity and our redneck legislators keep giving and giving to that ignorant no talent sport, SMH

  9. Lgbpop says:

    Ross can go pound sand. Just reduce the pay by $75.000/year for each man on the 40-man roster and he has his $3million/year.

    Perhaps he could ask fans to voluntarily pony up the money and see how far he gets. We barely can afford to eat lately, with me being out of work, and to expect taxpayers to pay for renovations to a perfectly-good stadium is beyond me.

  10. Brian says:

    I`m not endorsing anyone paying for sports teams, just saying the Dolphins have gotten nothing from the state of Florida, where the race track has been given way way way too much money , but that is redneck tourism money , bring simpletons from all over the country here , its a Moron convention

  11. Kevin says:

    Tell them to go to hell, that can be their new name too… the Hell Dolphins, they already play like the new name.

  12. jaxboy says:

    How much money does the state receive from the Dolphins and Daytona Raceway as their portion of the profits? The state should demand stocks for ANY money these corporations are given by the state, and should have a strong voting right on how any money is spent by . Any corporation that sinks $114,000,000 into ONE player (who could easily sidelined by even one injury on his first game), shows how cavalier they use money. They show zero concern for the fans. Having to pay more than $25 for a 3-4 show of athleticism shows how greedy the teams are. And of course, the leagues pay ZERO federal or state taxes. Such a sham!

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