While Miami considers helping fund a new soccer stadium via tax breaks and infrastructure spending, its football stadium is in the midst of a $350 million renovation, about $200 million of which is being funded by the NFL, and up to another $5 million a year (present value $75 million-ish) from bonuses the team will get from the city if it can lure Super Bowls and the like. That still leaves about $75 million to be paid by billionaire Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, and he’s not going to take that lying down:
South Florida Stadium LLC, which oversees Sun Life Stadium, has again applied for up to $90 million in sales-tax dollars — up to $3 million a year over 30 years — as part of at least $350 million in renovations at the stadium that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has said he will pay…
“The whole idea is economic development,” [Sun Life Stadium lobbyist Ron] Book said this week. “I think the projects, whatever they are, will stand on their merits.”
As I’ve noted before, and as hopefully should be obvious to anyone with half a brain, giving public money to sports team owners for projects they’re already building and claiming it will generate economic development is completely insane: Whether or not you believe that stadiums can be economic catalysts (SPOILER: they can’t), any economic impact is going to be exactly the same whether Ross completes his renovations with his own money or with state tax money. Actually, you’d expect the economic impact to be more if Ross doesn’t get the subsidy, since then the state would still have that $3 million to spend on something else that might have a non-zero impact. It’s almost like you can’t trust lobbyists to make sensible economic arguments regardless of who’s signing their checks these days.