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BED TAX BOOST IN BROWARD TOPS SUNSHINE STATE STROLL

      The Broward County Commission has voted to raise the
county's tax on hotel bills from 3% to 5% in order to help pay
for the Panthers' new arena, according to the Fort Lauderdale SUN
SENTINEL.  The increase, scheduled to take effect July 1, means
that tourists would contribute $8M yearly, or 55% of the cost
toward building the $212M Sunrise, FL, facility.  Stan Smith,
spokesperson for Panthers Owner Wayne Huizenga:  "This was the
last important step before moving into planning and
construction."  The Broward Hotel and Motel Assoc. agreed to
support the bed tax boost -- but on the condition hoteliers
receive additional money for tourism promotion.  The Commission,
which favored diverting a share of arena profits to tourism,
"stopped short" of making a firm commitment (David Nitkin, Ft.
Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 4/24).  Jack Neese calls Huizenga the
"clear winner":  "[Huizenga] got almost everything he wanted.  He
or the Panthers will own the company that manages the arena and
profit from almost everything that happens there" (Ft. Lauderdale
SUN-SENTINEL, 4/25).
     ALL ABOARD:  Huizenga was scheduled to tour the Molson
Centre, Corel Centre and FleetCenter prior to last night's
Panthers-Bruins playoff game.  Despite being "besieged" with
offers from architectural and construction companies, Huizenga
and county officials have yet to choose a firm to build the arena
(Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 4/24).
      THE HEAT IS ON:  Even though election day is over six
months away, Miami mayoral candidates "eager for headlines" are
already "exploiting" plans for a new Heat waterfront arena,
according to the MIAMI HERALD.  Metro Commissioner Alex Penelas
intends to make his opposition to the facility a "cornerstone" of
his race, while arena backers Arthur Teele, Xavier Suarez and
Maurice Ferre are "making their own arena plays" (MIAMI HERALD,
4/24).
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Boston Bruins, Facilities, Miami Heat

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