By Sunshine State News and South Florida Business Journal
The state Senate’s Commerce and Tourism Committee voted to approve a bill that could provide as much as $200 million in state and county dollars toward upgrades to the stadium where the Miami Dolphins play. -Courtesy of Miami Dolphins
A bill drafted by the Miami Dolphins to give them up to $3 million per year in state money to help fund a renovation of Sun Life Stadium cleared its first hurdle Tuesday morning, passing the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee by an 11-0 vote.
State Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, and Rep. Eduardo Gonzalez, R-Hialeah, have sponsored bills (HB-165 and SB-306) that begin the discussion on whether the state would allow taxes to be directed to help stadium upgrades.
The legislation casts a wide net, offering a $3 million tax rebate annually to a sports team that is undertaking a $250 million stadium upgrade, as long as the team owner is paying a minimum of $125 million, according to the bills. In Stephen Ross’ case, he has offered to pay $200 million out of his own pocket.
The bills could also grant Miami-Dade County the authority to raise the cap on the mainland hotel tax to 7 percent from 6 percent.
Ross has said that the purpose of the upgrade is to continue to attract Super Bowls and to seriously compete against the San Francisco 49ers’ future $1.2 billion stadium and the Houston Texans’ Reliant Stadium for the National Football League’s 50th Super Bowl in 2016. An improved stadium would also guarantee the Dolphins play at Sun Life Stadium until at least 2034, he has said.
Next up for the bill in the Senate is the Appropriates Subcommittee on Finance and Tax, with no date set for the hearing.