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Panhandle lawmaker with power over Dolphins deal getting an earful

A Panhandle Republican has an outsized role to play in deciding whether the Miami Dolphins’ quest for a taxpayer-supported stadium renovation is successful—and he’s getting an earful from both sides of the debate.

Rep. Jimmy Patronis, a Panama City Republican who chairs the Economic Affairs Committee, said the team’s bill was more likely to get a hearing after the Dolphins have agreed to “concessions,” but acknowledged that opponents of the bill have his ear as well.

“I don’t know yet,” he said about whether he’d bring the Dolphins bill up for a vote soon. “I have had [many] meetings about the Dolphins bill with the stakeholders—both opponents and the proponents—and it seems like the negotiations on behalf of putting forward a package that there’s a consensus on everyday gets better and better.”

The Dolphins are backing HB 165, hoping get as much as $200 million in taxpayer aid for the renovation of Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. The team said a stadium upgrade would help lure a Super Bowl to South Florida—and recently agreed to make some of the taxpayer support contingent on doing just that.

“I am enthusiastically a big fan of Super Bowls being in the state of Florida and understanding if this is what it takes to get one, then great,” said Patronis. “But can the state afford it?”

Patronis said the Economic Affairs committee may meet next week, though he’s not sure if the Dolphins bill will be on the agenda. The House bill was last heard two weeks ago (March 8) in the Finance & Tax committee and was sent to Economic Affairs. Committee chairs can effectively kill bills by not bringing them up for a hearing.

“It’s 50-50,” Patronis said Thursday from the floor of the Florida House, where he sits next to Dolphins bill sponsor Rep. Eddy Gonzalez, R-Hialeah. “We have not talked about it today.”

Patronis said the Dolphins are getting closer to getting the consensus they need to pass their bill. The Senate companion has received a near-unanimous support at the committee level and the most vocal opposition has come from Miami-Dade lawmakers..

“The bill definitely has more support by the members of the chamber than it had two weeks ago,” he said. “And I think some of the concessions that the Dolphins leadership team has put forward definitely make the bill more attractive.”

Patronis did say that three other tax break bills for other stadiums are, in effect, tethered to the Dolphins bill, as it would not to be fair to give one a hearing while denying others. Tax breaks benefitting the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Daytona Speedway and a Major League Soccer team are also hoping to get a hearing before Patronis’s committee.

“What you contemplate doing for one, you then have the obligation to be sensitive to all,” he said. 


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Conservatives in Florida

FL GOP Chairman Lenny Curry is hiding and will not take a stand on this issue.


This is simply unacceptable. As a Republican who cannot stand wasteul spending and high taxes, how an our elected officials in Tallahassee use tax dollars for billion dollar sports enterprises. It a disgrace.

We can only pray that Norman Brahman steps in and funds the opposition.

I dont get how Republicans can galavant around and at like they are stewards ot taxpayer money while they vote to bail out pro sports teams. By the way, will my dolphins tickets go down? No!

This is corporate greed, coruption and croney capitalism. Outrageous.


Do you have any idea how much money a Superbowl would bring to the state? Plus these renovations are going to put seating closer to the field. Making for a better event experience. This will mean more concerts and other type of events coming to the area. All of this will bring in tax ,money and customers for local businesses. So it's not about bailing out the Dolphins.


I don't get it. Where I am from, the State has no involvement. It is the City and the voters living in this city. Why in the world would people in another part of a state really want to pay for a new stadium for a team that is not in their city?


It's called lets sucker the tax payers in on this deal so I (ROSS) can buy and sell more real estate.If the man really cared about his team and S.Fl.The GM would be In the unemployment line and the Phins would be a winner buy now.

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