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Politics

Dolphins' Stadium, Even Dan Marino, Supported in Senate Committee

February 4, 2013 - 6:00pm

Its been years since NFL great Dan Marino moved the yard markers at what is now Sun Lite Stadium, but he still has fans even in the Florida Senate after a report last week exposed hefathered a child not by his wife.


I like the Dolphins, I even still like Dan Marino, said Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee Chair Nancy Detert, R-Venice, as a proposal to upgrade the stadium went before her committee Tuesday.

Deterts comments came with concerns over the narrow focus of the bill, Senate Bill 316, that seeks to let local county officials approve an additional penny bed tax that would help cover the public portions of $400 million in renovations to the 25-year-old complex in Miami Gardens.

The bill also provides the team, which must cover at least 51 percent of the upgrades, with $3 million in sales tax breaks for 30 years

While the committee unanimously voted -- Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, gave a Go Dolphins before voting yes -- to back the bill, Detert said she had never voted before for a bill designed for a single team.

Its not like Im looking to expand it to more teams, there is something inherent that bothers me about writing legislations that just outlines the parameters so that is the only guy can qualify, she said after the hearing.

Even with the committee approval, the stadium deal is a long way from the end zone, with at least two other committee hearings on the way and a visit to the governors desk. Once approved, a supermajority of the Miami-Dade County Commission must still approve the penny bed tax boost.

Bills have been filed, Senate Bill 358 and House Bill 219, that would provide sales tax breaks on a $90 million to $100 million, 18,000-to-20,000-seat soccer stadium that would allow Orlando to attract Major League Soccer to Florida.

Meanwhile, additional proposals are anticipated to cover upgrades at Daytona International Speedway and EverBank Stadium for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, anticipating the Jacksonville Jaguars seeking for stadium upgrades argued the deal should be considered a blueprint for other sport franchises in Florida.

One thing this is not is a giveaway; were not giving away the money to the Miami Dolphins, its an investment, they have to earn the money, Bean said.

Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Miami, called the proposal worthwhile, as the state would continue to receive sales taxes off revenues that surpass the $3 million mark, as the Dolphins report revenue between $7 million and $8 million a year in the stadium.

You have a sure deal here, you know its going to employ more people, you know its going to bring in more money, Margolis said.


Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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