After adding an amendment to require Miami-Dade voters to approve a new local hotel tax to help pay for a $400 million upgrade of the Miami Dolphins stadium, skeptical lawmakers may be planning more changes for the controversial proposal.
Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, implied that the bill should include a contribution from Broward County taxpayers as well, since much of the economic benefit from the Miami Gardens stadium takes place north of the Dade County line.
“One concern that I have is Dade County is paying 100 percent of the tax,” said Trujillo. “We receive, best case scenario…38 percent of the tourists. The majority stay in Broward and Broward doesn’t have to pay anything.”
Trujillo sits on the Finance and Tax Committee, where the bill will be heard on Friday—along with four lawmakers from Broward County. A Senate version of the bill passed its second of four committee stops on Wednesday, with a unanimous vote.
No amendments have been filed to the House bill as of Thursday afternoon, but a push to add Broward County into the tax mix could complicate the proposal.
While several members of the committee told the Herald/Times they were planning to vote for the measure, a new amendment could change things.
Additionally, a recent poll showing that 73 percent of Miami-Dade residents don’t want the taxpayer-financed stadium renovation looms over the process.
“I was never supportive of the bill before the poll,” said Trujillo. “It doesn’t surprise me that people in Miami--based on the experience of the Marlins, based on the current state of our economy--were not supportive or welcoming of this idea. I don’t think it’s the right time in our state.”
The Dolphins are asking for the mainland hotel tax in Miami-Dade to increase from 6 percent to 7 percent, as well as up to $90 million in sales tax rebates, paid out over 30 years. That $90 million would not be subject to a referendum.@ToluseO