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BED TAX BOOST IN BROWARD TOPS SUNSHINE STATE STROLL
Published April 25, 1996
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).