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Florida House Should Stand Up for Florida’s Voters, Oppose Sports Incentives

May 02, 2013

Eighty percent of voters oppose taxpayer subsidies for professional sports stadiums

TALLAHASSEE—Today Americans for Prosperity’s Florida chapter (AFP-FL), with more than 150,000 activists, sent letters to House Speaker Will Weatherford opposing S.B. 306 and an identical amendment that was put on S.B. 1828 by Senator Oscar Braynon, the sponsor of S.B. 306. The language would authorize $13 million a year to be given to professional sports team to renovate or construct stadiums, and allow Miami-Dade county to increase their county hotel tax to help pay for a renovation at Sun Life Stadium.

AFP-FL has been a vocal opponent of the use of tax dollars for subsidies to professional sports team, what they say is just another form of corporate welfare.  Activists have sent more than 8,300 emails to Tallahassee opposing these incentives, and a recent statewide poll showed that eighty percent of Florida voters oppose the use of taxpayer-funded subsidies for professional sports teams to renovate or construct stadiums. In addition, seventy percent said that they would be less likely to re-elect a representative if they support such incentives.

“It’s indisputable, Florida voters oppose corporate welfare and giving away tax dollars to professional sports teams,” said AFP-FL State Director Slade O’Brien. “Contrary to what the teams claim these subsidies provide very little if any economic benefit to the taxpayers.  This is money taxpayers expect to be used for vital services, not corporate welfare for the billionaire owners of sports teams.”

The proponents of the legislation have brought multiple people to Tallahassee to lobby on behalf of the legislation including Dan Marino, former Miami Dolphins quarterback, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, billionaire owner of the Miami Dolphins Stephen Ross and Daytona 500 Champion Jimmie Johnson. 

Mr. O’Brien continued, “The House of Representatives has an opportunity to block this bad bill and send a message to the taxpayers that they are protecting their interests and spending tax dollars responsibly. I hope that our elected officials will not be swayed by a few celebrities and instead consider the opinions of the people that elected them.”

Read AFP-FL’s letter to Speaker Weatherford on SB 306 here.

Read AFP-FL’s letter to Speaker Wheatherford on S.B. 1828 here.

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