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Bailout bills for pro sports bills in trouble


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Bailout bills for pro sports bills in trouble

BRENT KALLESTAD

Associated Press

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - With legislative leaders lining up against doling out tax dollars to help professional sports franchises build or improve facilities, the Florida Marlins might find themselves rejected one more time by state lawmakers.

 

Miami-Dade County officials are looking for a $60 million state subsidy to help them build a $420 million government-owned stadium that would be rented to the Marlins for its 81 baseball dates each year.

 

"The team has to build a business case for this," said Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon.

 

Just Tuesday, the Senate Commerce and Consumer Services Committee was advised by a Senate staff economist that new sports stadiums don't usually have the intended effect of spurring economic development.

 

Lee also said it might be a good year to pull the state out of the business of subsidizing pro sports franchises.

 

"What sort of came back to me yesterday ... was how poorly these other deals performed against the backdrop of the expectations that were raised here in the Legislature," Lee said. "Whether it's the World Golf Village, or you know, you name it. The Marlins, unfortunately, kind of come into this debate now against the backdrop of some other proposals that haven't panned out as promised."

 

He's not alone.

 

"I've always been opposed to it," said Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, who chairs the commerce panel. "I don't think it's the right thing to do."

 

Lee also spoke with Wayne Huizenga, the former Marlins' owner who also owns the Miami Dolphins and the stadium where the Marlins now play.

 

Lee said he was assured Wednesday by Huizenga that the Marlins could play there for the foreseeable future.

 

"People from southeast Florida are committed to keeping the team down there," Lee said. "There might be more (other) options."

 

The Marlins opened their season Tuesday with a 9-0 victory over Atlanta. Before the game, team owner Jeffrey Loria expressed optimism that a bill including the subsidy the Marlins seek will pass.

 

"I'm confident the Legislature will do the right thing," he said, declining to discuss the issue further.

 

Sen. Rudy Garcia, R-Miami, who is shepherding the effort to get state funding for a new Miami ballpark, was glum about the prospects as legislators reached the midpoint of their nine-week session.

 

"This bill has always come up in the last week and hasn't survived in the past," Garcia said. "We need to continue working on what's available to us and see where we can go from where we're at."

 

Even Gov. Jeb Bush, a proponent of helping the Marlins, gave a cautious answer when asked Wednesday about the prospects of a new Marlins' ballpark.

 

"There's a long way to go to be able to say there's going to be bills passed that will subsidize professional sports teams or spring training teams," Bush said.

 

Lee said he wants any proposal to include a request for money to help build a NASCAR Hall of Fame and another request from the Orlando Magic in addition to that sought by the Marlins.

 

ON THE NET

 

Florida Legislature: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/

 

Florida Marlins: http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/

 

I wonder why all the newspapers are bringing out so many negative artciles (5 that I counted) within the same 24 hour period. Gee....this thing may actually pass? Look at the portion I bolded.

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I think this thing may be getting closer to fruition. Having NASCAR, the Orlando Magic, and a bunch of Counties and Cities on our side is got to help.

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It's hard to stay positive with all of this doom and gloom news coming out, but I'm taking your word for it and staying optimistic :thumbup

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Lee also spoke with Wayne Huizenga, the former Marlins' owner who also owns the Miami Dolphins and the stadium where the Marlins now play.

 

Lee said he was assured Wednesday by Huizenga that the Marlins could play there for the foreseeable future.

 

:fyou

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