Time continues to be of the essence for the Miami Dolphins in their plans to modernize Sun Life Stadium and improve their chances of landing the 50th Super Bowl, college championships, and international soccer, which makes today’s victory in the state legislature that much more important.
Dolphins CEO Mike Dee applauded the efforts of the House Finance and Tax Committee and their favorable 12-4 vote in support of a bill that would further advance the ability to modernize Sun Life Stadium. The bill would provide for a $3 million per year tax rebate on goods and services sold at the stadium, which, along with a proposed 1-cent increase in the Miami-Dade county tourist tax, could account for the minority portion not being covered by private sources.
Ross has pledged that private funds will cover the majority of the cost of the twenty-two project plan, which includes adding a canopy over the 25-year-old building, improving the seating and stadium lighting and adding four new video boards in each corner, among other upgrades. With the 31 other National Football League owners set to vote on the sites for Super Bowl 50 and 51 at the spring meetings in Boston on May 22nd, today’s vote gives Ross and the Dolphins a little more momentum.
“It’s very important to have the wind at our back in Tallahassee,” said Dee this afternoon in a press conference held at the stadium. “The time is short. We have 10 weeks until the Super Bowl vote and I think the legislature understands the sense of urgency. That’s why I think you’ve seen this move as quickly as it has. We’re just through one week of session and we’re through two committees on the senate side and through one on the house side.”
“So we hope this process will continue to move at a fast pace and it’s not just us requesting that, it’s Miami-Dade County and they have made it clear that this is a priority for them to move this forward in time to have a referendum in place prior to the Super Bowl bid. So I think that’s the shot clock, if you will, that everybody’s on.”
There have been a lot of different polls taken of potential voters to gauge how they feel about the issue and, with talks still ongoing between the dolphins and the county, more information will be disseminated soon. Dee remains confident that as the facts of the bill crystallize and the benefits to the community become more apparent, that public referendum will fall in line.
If there is one thing Dee is fully aware of it’s how knowledgeable the voter base down here is when it comes to anything involving the use of public money. He spoke in Tallahassee and helped address the nuances of the financial plan, but he knows how important it is to get everything in front of the voter.
“Voters are smart and one thing I can tell you is this is not a voting population based upon my exchange in the weeks since we announced the referendum that lack opinions, lacks ideas or lacks perspective,” Dee said. “So I think it’s going to be an interesting public debate and one that is going to make it especially important for us because the standard’s going to be set high to go out and sell this deal to the public and make sure that the facts are known.
“What we do know is when the facts are on the table the facts prevail. And even those who walk into the discussion dissenting or having a negative opinion of a prior deal or a negative opinion about private-public partnerships, once they engage and understand the facts, we don’t bat a thousand but we bat better than most Major League hitters in terms of converting people to thinking it’s a good idea.”