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Bush open to $60 million state subsidy for Marlins ballpark


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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ? (AP) ? Gov. Jeb Bush signaled Thursday he's open to a proposal to give state help to Miami-Dade County for a new Florida Marlins baseball park in Hialeah.

 

The proposal is riding on a bill already passed by the House that certifies the NBA's Orlando Magic for a similar state subsidy that Bush said he supports.

 

If the measure (HB 615) passes the Senate and escapes Bush's veto, both professional sports teams would receive $60 million from the state over a 30-year period to help with building or refurbishing facilities.

 

Although Bush killed a deal early in his first term that would've allocated the money for a new Marlins stadium in South Florida, he promised a full review of the proposal if it reaches his desk.

 

"Absolutely I'll keep an open mind,'' said Bush, who plans to return to his Miami hometown after leaving office next January.

 

"I love Hialeah,'' he said about the proposed stadium site northwest of downtown Miami. "Hialeah's a great

place.''

 

Bush met Thursday morning with Sen. Rudy Garcia, R-Hialeah, where the issue was most likely among the subjects discussed. Garcia was one of the lawmakers who engineered Wednesday's amendment that got the Marlins back in the game for the new ballpark.

 

Before their meeting the governor said he wasn't up to speed on the arrangement Miami-Dade leaders were pushing.

 

"I didn't even know there was a local deal to match the state's portion on this,'' Bush said. "There has to be a deal attached to this.''

 

However, the proposal's chances are up for grabs in the Republican-led Senate, which could vote as early as Thursday to certify the baseball team as Florida's ninth professional sports franchise eligible for the subsidy. If it does, the bill would go back to the House. The 60-day legislative session ends Friday.

 

The Marlins have also been wooed in recent weeks by the city of San Antonio, Texas if they were unable to come up with an acceptable package for a new ballpark in South Florida.

 

The Marlins now play at the stadium owned by Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga, who has already received the state subsidy.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Gov. Jeb Bush signaled Thursday that he's open to giving state help to Miami-Dade County for a new Florida Marlins ballpark in Hialeah.

 

Legislation already passed by the House certifies the NBA's Orlando Magic for a similar state subsidy that Bush said he supports.

 

If the measure passes the Senate and becomes law, both professional sports teams would receive $60 million from the state over a 30-year period to help with building or refurbishing facilities.

 

Although Bush killed a deal early in his first term that would've allocated the money for a new Marlins stadium in South Florida, he promised a full review of the proposal if it reaches his desk.

 

"Absolutely I'll keep an open mind," Bush said.

 

"I love Hialeah," he added about the proposed stadium site northwest of downtown Miami. "Hialeah's a great place."

 

The Marlins have been wooed in recent weeks by San Antonio but would prefer to remain in Florida.

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