With the clock winding down on the Miami Dolphins’ quest for
a taxpayer-supported stadium overhaul, the team called an audible Wednesday,
announcing new concessions aimed at boosting support for the deal.
At back-to-back a press conferences in
Tallahassee and Miami Gardens,
the team announced it would be willing to repay much of the taxpayer financing
it is seeking after 30 years, including nearly $50 million in state tax rebates.
It’s the most recent of several concessions made by the
Dolphins, who are seeking taxpayer help despite the political uproar over publicly-financed
stadiums in South Florida. (A widely
criticized deal for a new Miami Marlins sparked the recall of former county
mayor Carlos Alvarez).
“I hope the opposition sees how willing we are to work to
make [the deal] better,” said Rep. Erik
Fresen, a Miami Republican sponsoring the effort. “And I hope a lot of the
people who are opposed will be willing to come on board and help us with this
great project for Miami-Dade
Among the concessions: The Dolphins have agreed to keep the
team in South Florida for three decades, snag at least one Super Bowl by 2017, allow Miami-Dade voters to decide on whether to raise hotel
taxes and, possibly, cover the cost of that referendum vote. The team also
offered to pay back much of the funding from hotel taxes and also pay penalties
if the new stadium did not attract a certain number of high-profile sports
events over the next 30 years.
According to a release from the Dolphins, the team would pay
back a total of $167 million, including $120 million to the locals and $47
million to the state.
The Dolphins are hoping Miami-Dade County will raise the mainland hotel tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, to provide funding for a stadium renovation that could cost about $390 million. The team is also requesting up to $90 million in sales tax rebates from the state of Florida.
Juggling negotiations with Miami-Dade County
and the state Legislature, the Dolphins are also up against a tight timeline.
The team is hoping to get a referendum on the ballot in May. Owners from the
National Football League are scheduled to meet May 22 to choose a site for
Super Bowl 50, to be held in 2016.