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Dolphins get unanimous support for stadium tax deal in first Senate hearing

The Miami Dolphins started off the legislative season 1-and-0 in their attempt to get lawmakers to approve a multi-million dollar deal to upgrade its 25-year-old stadium.

Lawmakers in the Florida Senate Commerce Committee gave unanimous support to a bill that would clear the way for higher hotel bed taxes and a new sales tax rebate to help fund a $400 million renovation of the Fins’ digs.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, has cleared its first hurdle, but it still faces an uphill climb. There will be several more committee stops and the bill also has to clear the Florida House, where Braynon acknowledged that there’s still some heavy lifting to do.

“In the Senate, I don’t think that we’re going to have as many problems as we’re going to have in the House,” he said.

The bill would allow the Dolphins to collect an annual $3 million in sales tax rebates from the state for 30 years, as well as millions more in new bed taxes.

Several stakeholders came up to Tallahassee to support the bill at its first committee hearing, including Miami Gardens mayor Oliver Gilbert,  SunLife stadium CEO Mike Dee and Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce President Bill Diggs.

All supporters pitched the same message: This tax deal is a smart economic move for the state, and would lead to Super Bowls, college championships and other major tourism events. 

Several Senators lined up behind that idea, giving the measure unanimous support after a lengthy period of questions and commentary. The Senators’ openness could bode well for other sports teams across Florida that are considering taxpayer funded stadium deals.

“You have a sure deal here,” said Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Miami. “You know that they’re going to employ more people. You know that it’s going to bring in more money.”

None of the supporters brought up the Miami Marlins deal, which has been criticized as a poorly designed taxpayer giveaway.


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Marvin Sanchez

Im happy that this Marlins deal isnt preventing people from seeing the true value in this deal. I am a Miami-Dade citizen and I am fully supportive, under 1 condition..... Ross pays up!!!!!! I know how owners can be and I can only hope that he pays for the majority.


He better pay more than a majority. For once, Florida can be used as a model for something good. This is how stadium deals should be done. Mostly private with a public kicker funded by tourists, not general revenue funds


I need to bring my property up to 2012 standards. The upgrade will cost 200M. Can anyone of you guys out there give me $100M? I'll put up the other 100M. It will make my house look a lot better and the value of the other houses around mine will improve.... What a country!!! Give handouts to billionaires and get the general public to pay for it. Joe Robbie must be squirming in his grave. What happened to his way of doing business??? Robbie built the stadium the old fashioned way. Using his own money and mortgaging every asset he had without asking the public for a red cent.

John Nelson

Write you letters to your senators not the news articles, this is the only way you will win. The Senators don't read these columns.

Again another tax increase on the people, yes state residents do spend money on hotels when we come down to a dolphins game. and again robbing the sales tax fund to support private business.

Like Joe Robbie, Steve Ross has had made mufti millions of the Dolphins, he can pay for his own renovations. We are talking about renovations, not building a new stadium. In this age we have far better things to spend our tax dollars on.

Will it increase the potential to bring Super bowls in, I doubt it, they have already had two, it was in a stadium paid for by the owner. It is the weather that brings the Super Bowls, and of course competition from other states that have built indoor stadiums with 75,000 plus capacity one of the requirement for a bowl game.

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