Sun Life Stadium
7:41 am
Mon January 14, 2013

We're Not The Marlins, Dolphins Say, But We Do Need Tax Money For Our Stadium

NEEDS WORK: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wants a partial roof and reconfigured seating at Sun Life Stadium and he wants taxpayers to fund some of the renovations.
Credit Wikimedia

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has an appointment with reporters today to discuss his plans to go after public funding to renovate Sun Life Stadium.

The cost estimate is $400 million, says the Miami Herald, some of which Ross apparently hopes to raise from state and local government sources.

Dolphins executives plan to pursue two funding sources from state and local government, according to several people familiar with the team’s plans. For the first funding stream, the Dolphins plan to ask Miami-Dade to raise taxes charged mainland hotels from 6 percent to 7 percent and earmark the extra money for the stadium. The Dolphins also plan to ask Florida for an additional $2 million rebate on sales taxes on top of the $2 million the stadium already receives from the state each year under a special subsidy for professional sports teams.

Last time Ross approached the legislature for renovation money -- and he was asking only for $225 million back then -- he got nothing. Florida's economy and state finances are in much better shape now, so Ross' main problem seems to be comparisons with the Marlins and lingering public resentment of the ballpark the team built with $639 million in public money.

Ross; plans for the stadium were described to the Herald's Douglas Hanks:

Sources close to the team describe an extensive renovation of Sun Life, including adding a partial roof, a redesign of the seating configuration to improve views of the field, and shifting capacity from the low-priced seats in the upper deck to the more expensive seating closer to the sidelines. Without the space demands of a baseball field, the front row will move 18 feet closer to the field, according to a person briefed on the plans.

The  "Dolphins' bill" sponsor in the Legislature will be Miami Gardens Democratic State Sen. Oscar Braynon who says there will never be a deal that allows the Dolphins to pay less than the taxpayers for the stadium work.