Should Public Money Fund Sun Life Stadium Upgrades?

Jan 18, 2013

Marlins are no help for Dolphins.  The proposal by the Miami Dolphins to fund approximately $400 million in stadium renovations through county hotel taxes and state general funds is not getting a warm reception.  And it’s probably not because of reports by economists showing that events like the Super Bowl don’t contribute significantly to the host communities

Some supporters of the Dolphins' plan say that others, like the University of Miami Hurricanes, will benefit from an improved stadium.
Credit techyourpicture

Instead, it’s because of the Marlins.  When the Miami Marlins sold their top players after a dismal first season in a stadium constructed largely by public revenues, both the public and politicians soured on public money subsidizing stadiums.

We asked members of the Public Insight Network what they thought of the Dolphins’ plan.

Jorge Sosa from Tamarac says the Marlins are not a relevant comparison.

The Marlins swindled the most money out of the public so they could pocket it after selling players off. The Dolphins want to build something for its fans, for the city, and for the future of football and major events in South Florida.

Adam from Miami agrees:

It's a different deal. Only 25% was paid by the Marlins and a $50 million general obligation bond was issued to pay for another portion. There is no salary cap in the MLB nor is there a floor. The NFL has both. The Marlins are on the floor right now. This is not even close to the same deal.  Mr. Ross, who does not benefit from BCS games and Superbowls, has done his part. It's time for the city to step up.

But some Dolphins fans, while agreeing that a facelift would be nice, don’t think it should come through tax revenue.  Dave Kennedy from Fort Lauderdale, a former season ticket holder, writes:

It’s a private company and a private stadium. Mr. Ross should pay for this himself and not burden the public, nor be repaid by public funds. He also should not be awarded another tax break.

Small business owner, Douglas from Davie, adds:

Like other owners of private businesses, [the Dolphins] must go & borrow money from financial institutions!!! Stop this talk about how much money it would create for the community!! I am a small business owner, and I have to go to a bank for a loan! I don't have friends in high places!!

What do you think?  Tweet us @WLRN with your thoughts on the stadium plan.