ARE BUCS MOVING WITH LATEST DEVELOPMENT IN TAX AID?
The proposed $60M sales tax subsidy for a new or renovated
stadium in Tampa "ran into trouble" yesterday in the FL Senate,
according to today's TAMPA TRIBUNE. During the meeting, Bucs
Owner Malcolm Glazer's demand for a new stadium to keep the team
in Tampa was called "blackmail" by Senate Commerce Committee
Chair John McKay. But while the Committee did pass the
legislation for a tax break, an amendment by Sen. Fred Dudley
"was tacked on" to require the Bucs to repay the tax money if the
team moves before the stadium is paid off. Sen. John Grant,
sponsor of the bill: "That requirement could topple the fragile
financial arrangement needed to build or renovate the football
stadium and may give the Buccaneers an excuse to skip town."
Grant later said, although he is "nervous," he is not concerned"
the team will move (Phil Willon, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/11).
MEANWHILE, ACROSS THE BAY: In St. Petersburg, negotiators
have drawn up a new contract that could help the Devil Rays and
the city beat an April 30 deadline for submitting a lease to MLB
owners. The new proposal is based on the assumption that
Pinellas County will pay for part of the renovations to the
ThunderDome. If the county decides not to pay, the lease "could
be dissolved" without the city bearing the full cost of the
renovations. However, Devil Rays Attorney John Higgins says the
city's proposal "may not do the trick, since it doesn't specify
who will pay what." Higgins: "Theoretically, baseball could
say, 'You haven't satisfied our requirements, which was for a
lease with guaranteed provisions.'" County officials do not plan
to vote on the matter until mid-May "at the earliest" (Noam
Neusner, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/11).