Apparently there’s a small problem with that bill to require Florida stadiums that received public funds to double as homeless shelters. As Stephen Nohlgren of the Tampa Bay Times reports, the original requirement was introduced in 1988 to win support for allowing sales-tax money to be kicked back to help pay for construction of the stadium that went on to become Tropicana Field, current home of the Rays — a subsidy scheme that’s since been used by numerous other sports teams. The bill, proposed by state senator Michael Bennett, would require that stadiums immediately set up shelters on off days, or else refund all the cash they’ve received.
And the problem? Take it away, Nohlgren:
But in fact, only one stadium listed by legislative analysts — the Miami Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium — is owned by a team that received the sales tax exemption. The other 17 are owned by cities, counties or public sports authorities. Refunds would be borne by taxpayers.
The bill doesn’t seem to have much chance of passage in its current form, regardless, though it’s always possible it will lead to some debate on legislation that would actually affect the sports teams that Bennett is upset about subsidizing. I wouldn’t hold your breath, though.