The Miami Dolphins have given a full embrace of a Senate plan that would help the team renovate its stadium, even as a much different House plan has stalled in the committee process.
The bill, SB 306, cleared its final committee Thursday and heads to the floor next. It would require the Dolphins to compete with other sports teams for a state tax break of up to $3 million per year. Teams would compete for a pot of $13 million in tax breaks, and would be ranked based on potential economic impact.
The House version of the bill does not include those provisions, and has stalled for the last two weeks. The chair of the House Budget committee has no plans to hear it anytime soon. If the House decides to spike the bill, the Dolphins' efforts at a taxpayer-supported stadium upgrade could die in Tallahassee.
Though the Senate version has additional stipulations that are not in the House bill (which offers a carve out specifically for the Dolphins), the team has embraced the bill that’s currently moving.
“We’re appreciative of the efforts that continue to move this forward,” said Dolphins CEO Mike Dee, who has traveled to Tallahassee for each of the bill’s seven committee stops in the Legislature.
While requiring competition for state tax breaks, the Senate bill still offers a carve out for Miami-Dade to raise its mainland tourist tax, potentially bringing in tens of millions of dollars for the team to rebuild its stadium. The tourist tax dollars could help the team generate up to $289 million while the state tax break could bring in $3 million annually for several years, according to an agreement with the county. The team’s stadium renovation could cost more than $350 million, and the Dolphins have agreed to pay back some of the tax dollars used for the project.