Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A bill providing millions of dollars in sales tax subsidies for sports franchises passed the state House today.

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting...

After almost an hour of debate, the House voted 90-26 on the economic development proposal (HB 173) loaded with cash for a new or renovated Orlando arena, a Florida Marlins stadium and money to help Daytona Beach officials to lure a NASCAR Hall of Fame.

"This bill is actually a reverse Robin Hood," complained Rep. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood. "We're actually robbing the poor to give to the rich."

Marlin resurrection

The Florida Marlins stadium bill, virtually left for dead a few days ago, was approved by the Florida House yesterday by a 90-26 vote, after a pro-stadium legislator tacked it on to an existing economic development bill. The resulting legislation would provide $2 million a year ($60 million total, or $30 million in present value) in subsidies for a new Marlins stadium, $2 million a year for a new or renovated arena for the Orlando Magic, $2 million a year for four baseball spring training sites, $5 million a year to counties with convention centers, and $1.2 million a year for a NASCAR museum in Daytona Beach. (The City of Mermaids, sadly, wouldn't get a dime.)

The battleground now turns to the Florida Senate, where senate president Tom Lee has been just slightly critical of the Marlins' stadium demands. And the current Senate bill also differs in several respects from the version that passed the House, so even if the Senate passes a stadium bill by the end of its session - a week from Friday - there may not be time to reconcile both versions and get a final bill approved.

Hat Tip to Field of Schemes.


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