Miami-Dade offers Dolphins extra $57.5m in subsidies, just because

Not only did Miami-Dade county commissioners approve subsidies for a new Miami Dolphins practice field last night, but they added an additional ten years of subsidies that could be worth as much as $57.5 million. In exchange, the Dolphins owners will do absolutely nothing:

As the discussion on that proposal began Tuesday afternoon, Commissioner Barbara Jordan, whose district includes Hard Rock, introduced last-minute legislation that dramatically changed the proposal by extending the existing deal for another 10 years. While the original proposal could have earned the Dolphins an extra $12 million or so, the extension tacked $57.5 million onto the potential payout through 2046…

There was no explanation from Jordan on why the richer stadium deal was revealed minutes before the commission vote.

The Dolphins owners haven’t yet accepted the deal, so presumably Jordan and her fellow commissioners (all but one of whom present, commission chair Esteban “Steve” Bovo, voted for the plan) figured they’d sweeten the pot to encourage the Dolphins to move their training facility from Broward County to Miami-Dade by offering up a bunch of subsidies at a future time when most of them will no longer be in office, if they’re even alive. (And if Miami-Dade is even above sea level by then.) Because who can put a price on this:

“They basically live at the training facility,” [Dolphins CEO Tom] Garfinkel said after the 10-1 vote. “Probably 10 months out of the year. They have most of their meals there. There’s a lounge there. There’s a barber there.”

A barber! Think of all the lucrative income taxes on barber tips that Miami-Dade would be missing out on if the Dolphins practiced in Broward! Or would, if local income taxes weren’t unconstitutional in Florida! But still!

Since the future subsidies are dependent on how many “major events” are held at the Dolphins’ main stadium, there’s almost no way whoever owns the Dolphins in the 2040s will actually get $57.5 million out of this deal, unless the NFL is playing ten Super Bowls a year by then. (Which they might have resorted to by then — there are stranger predictions.) Still, it’s a significant additional gift to a pro sports team owner in exchange for nothing more than the possibility that maybe it’ll entice him to have his team practice on your side of the county line. Marlins stadium debacle or no, Florida men are gonna keep Floridaing.

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One comment on “Miami-Dade offers Dolphins extra $57.5m in subsidies, just because

  1. … how the sausage is made…

    I really wish I could tell you that this sort of last minute HALO drop of motions (or payola, as I like to think of it) is unusual. I really wish I could.

    But in the small town where I live, this sort of last minute motion/proposal dropped in by one councillor who has taken a meeting with “someone” that was not on anyone’s radar and who’s proposal has not even been mentioned to any other councillors before, much less investigated and debated as a full council, is actually quite common.

    The general tone is always “I had a coffee with (person x) the other day and they are really struggling and in appreciation of everything they do for our community (everything never being defined) I think we should offer them a 20 year lease to take over this town owned parcel for whatever purpose they want because we aren’t using it and they are such good people and do so much good and it would be such a shame to lose them and economic development and spinoffs and rising tides (no, the other kind, economic ones) and also we should waive their municipal property taxes for this year because of all the benefits they bring and… here’s the motion (passes out individual copies to each councillor) I just happen to have drafted to bring to the meeting that I ‘forgot’ to mention at the start of the meeting when the chair asked if there was any new business to be added. I couldn’t put this on the agenda because I only met with these people 4 weeks ago and we’ve been negotiating the details ever since”

    “And if there’s no discussion I will ask the chair to call a vote – All in favour?”

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