SBD/March 7, 2013/Facilities

State Senate Panel Passes Dolphins' Stadium Plans; Poll Shows Voters Disapprove

More than 70% of those surveyed oppose the Sun Life Stadium referendum
The Dolphins yesterday "cleared another hurdle" in a bid to get taxpayer financing for half of the $400M renovations to Sun Life Stadium when a state Senate committee "unanimously approved the team's plan," according to Toluse Olorunnipa of the MIAMI HERALD. Lawmakers also "agreed to allow Miami-Dade voters to have the final say on whether or not to approve the taxpayer subsidies for the stadium." But the referendum could be "a tough sell, and potentially a deal killer because a new poll suggests Miami-Dade voters are overwhelmingly opposed to the Dolphins’ proposal." A poll conducted by Florida Int'l Univ. political science professor Dario Moreno showed that more than 70% of people surveyed in a 1,000-person poll taken Monday and Tuesday "oppose the proposal and most of those strongly oppose it." State Sen. Oscar Braynon, who is sponsoring the bill, said that he "is not concerned about the referendum, and is instead focusing on getting the bill through the Legislature." An amendment allowing the referendum to "take place before the bill is enacted" could allow Miami-Dade to "set a referendum vote in the spring." This would be ahead of the NFL's decision as to "where the 50th anniversary Super Bowl game will take place." Another amendment added yesterday "increased the minimum stadium renovation cost" from $250M to $300M (MIAMI HERALD, 3/7). In West Palm Beach, Jim Turner reports another amendment "ties into the proposal the elimination of a decades-old tax incentive" worth about $10.8M a year to bankers, "designed to draw international banks to locate in Florida." The Dolphins and Miami-Dade County hope to use $3M a year "from bed tax money" (PALM BEACH POST, 3/7).

POLL POSITION: In Miami, Caputo & Olorunnipa in a front-page piece write results of Moreno's poll indicate that the issue is "politically damaging for lawmakers." The poll shows that opposition to the plan "cuts across racial, ethnic, party and geographic lines." Moreno said, "There's not one group of likely voters who supports this idea." But the poll was "criticized by the Dolphins management and lobbyists." Dolphins CEO Mike Dee in a statement said that the poll "asked misleading or unfair questions." The Dolphins "shared only one result from one of their polls," conducted by a group called OnMessage Sports, showing 59% of voters approved of the plan, while 33% disapproved (MIAMI HERALD, 3/7).
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