Florida legislature considers requiring sports teams to have actual reasons to ask for state money

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.”


7 comments on “Florida legislature considers requiring sports teams to have actual reasons to ask for state money

  1. Not one Republican.
    Not one Democrat.
    Not one Representative
    Not one State Senator.

    Voted “no” on raising Charlotte’s room tax to give $87.5 million to a football billionaire.

    Florida will cave to Beckham. Never mind the palace that is Red Bull Arena (actually a very well-built venue) that cannot sell out in New Jersey. Or the place somewhere near Philly that can’t sell out. Never mind the lack of promotion and relegation in American soccer which is actually against the interests of smaller cities in getting decent stadiums built in their towns.

    He’s UNDERWEAR BOY! We MUST give him our money!

  2. Beckham must have talked to the folks at Daytona International Speedway. Or vice versa. DIS is saying the thing too. But Ma, all the other kids have one.
    http://newsdaytonabeach.com/speedway-sales-tax-rebate-bill-filed-in-state-house/

  3. Don’t forget what will be a very favorable lease no doubt from Miami-Dade County. And, in 10 years, the requested increase in some tourism tax to pay for renovations. And…..

  4. I’m surprised MLS, which has grown steadily over the past 10 years, chose to expand in Miami and is looking at Atlanta. These cities are generally considered two of the worst sports towns in America.

  5. Mark – are you really surprised, tho? Those two cities have a recent history of putting up huge stadium subsidies by crooked politicians.

  6. The reps don’t vote “no” because we always buy them off. Public stadium cash is a god-given right for us team owners, just like champagne baths, luxury suites, and 100 dollar cigars. And nothing stands in our way when it’s time to go get it.

  7. The Politicians have been picking winners and losers since beginning. This is just a way to justify it. Look at all the money Florida throws at baseball alone. Again where are these politicians when billions are being gifted to baseball.

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