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March 13, 2012
Florida gives Miami free pass on paying Marlins garage taxes
Looks like the city of Miami won't have to pay property taxes on Marlins parking garages after all, as threatened a few months back. The county tax assessor had previously noted that because the garages are reserved for Marlins fans during Marlins games — pretty much the only time you'd want to park there — they should be subject to taxes, and the city agreed to pay all taxes on the garages in their lease with the team. However, the state legislature approved a bill yesterday exempting the city from property taxes, and the county said it won't challenge the ruling.
What this basically means is that the city won't have to suddenly pay the county $1.2 million a year as a result of the stadium deal — whether you consider that a good or a bad thing depends largely on whether you're concerned about the city or county budget. It's still possible that someone could file a lawsuit challenging the law — as the Miami Herald notes, the Florida supreme court ruled in 2001 that "regular, for-profit use of a government building by a private entity essentially disqualifies the building from receiving a tax break" — but for now, it looks like Miami is off the hook for this cost, at least.