So as we covered yesterday, David Beckham wants $2 million a year in sales tax rebates from the state of Florida for his new Miami MLS franchise, because all the other teams are getting them and tax rebates aren’t really money, right? Which is, admittedly, how it normally works in Florida, except that it turns out there’s now a push on in the state legislature to stop handing out sales tax breaks like candy:
Lawmakers this spring are drafting legislation that attempts to reform the sport-incentive process used to award hundreds of millions in sales-tax rebates to NFL, baseball and NBA franchise owners.
The idea was floated last year by future Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando. This year, it’s being steered by House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and will likely engulf current efforts to win tax incentives for Major League Soccer in Orlando and Miami…
Weatherford said he was in no mood to acquiesce. “I’m not a big fan of allowing anyone to jump ahead of the pack, or trying to pick winners and losers,” he said.
All sports projects should “have to prove the value of that partnership on their end first, and then come back to the Legislature to ask for funding.”
Okay, so instead of “not handing out like candy” I actually should have written “handing out like candy from parents who are worried about spoiling their kids, and ask if they’ve finished all their homework and cleaned their room before buying them that jumbo bag of M&Ms.” I haven’t the foggiest what standards Weatherfod and his legislative colleagues are going to propose for team owners who want state money, but at this point any standards at all would be better than “line up on the left, and have your suitcase open to receive the unmarked bills.”