The Miami Herald reported last night that Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and his stadium team have decided to pose a referendum to the public that will give the team upwards of 200 million dollars from the local tax payers. After Miami-Dade officials left the plan for state money off the agenda for the season, the Dolphins had little other choice.
The referendum comes on the heals of the Marlins stadium bill that has blown up in the faces of Miami-Dade who is now saddled with a bill that will be over 500 million. While the Dolphins are adding in their own 200 million for the upgrades the rest will come from the tax-payers.
The Dolphins proposal is for a tax increase of 1% on mainland hotels. In other words, if I come down from North Carolina, I will see a small increase over what I paid last year at the same hotel. On the surface, the proposed increase would cost the local taxpayer nothing unless they enjoyed spending the night at a local hotel every now and then. No money would directly come out of their pockets. However it is still expected to be met with a lot of harsh criticism and likely will become a hard sell.
At the center for most of the local taxpayers is not the actual increase from 6% to 7% on those hotel stays. It’s where the money is going. Most believe that the county should use the money for road improvements and education. Yet there is no referendum on the table for those purposes and in reality, there won’t be at a local level for some time.
The Dolphins are hoping to get this on a special ballot sometime before May when the league will award the 50th Super Bowl. Miami and San Francisco are the only two cities vying for the game and San Francisco will have a brand new stadium up the road in Santa Clara to host the leagues premier event.
At this point the stadium referendum appears to have been dealt a blow and at minimum a big setback. The Dolphins, according to the Herald are running television ads to support the deal. A special vote will cost 3-5 million dollars to host and there is no word yet on who will inevitably eat the cost.