Let me set the record by assuring you all that I am not on the inside or have any inside news for the matter. I am a citizen and Dolphins fan intrigued by the legislature who sat on the fence trying to decide how I would ultimately vote for this legislature.
There are several reasons why I would vote against this and I feel that the presentation we have all been given is a bunch of smoke and mirrors in an effort to vote yes on this. I'll try to list and address as many components that have been brought up by this legislature and point out what the smoke and mirrors are hiding.
The raised bed tax was supposed to be illustrative to how it would not impact the local community and raise a dedicated revenue stream for Ross's stadium. The promise is if we do this Ross will bring us Superbowls, BCS bowls and international Soccer matches that will improve tourism to the city.
My thoughts here on this is if the bed tax hike was feasible why wasn't it strategically set this high to begin with. Raising this tax makes it more expensive to stay in Miami which can be a deterrent to whether or not people want to come. Also if we did raise it, why should we give that money to Ross? The city could use the people's money to improve and renovate hot spots in Miami or create new spots to bring increased tourist attraction year round and not every Nth year or during a seasonal event. By improving the city we create long term job opportunities and enrich the businesses being taxed by bringing them more steady business.
Here's a part we didn't really hear much about. Ross wanted in addition to the bed tax money to have the state of Florida provide 90 million dollars of sales tax rebates over 30 years. Something tells me they didn't ask for this to make tickets and beer cheaper.
While they're not directly asking us to give them more money from the state coffers, they are asking for the same effect (reducing state revenue) to lower their cost of doing business. The jobs promised to be provided by the renovation efforts or for facilitating big events would not out weigh this cost. The period these jobs would exist definitely would not out weigh the time period either, this is not a good trade off.
Furthermore... the cost to the state would be more so. With big events comes big responsibilities that our community will be stuck with. There will be elevated needs for things like sanitation that the city and state would have to pay for.
It is not appropriate for us to fund his stadium, and the precedent already exists in the NFL
It isn't common for teams to be responsible for the full cost of stadium renovations or construction, but that is because it is more common for stadiums to have public ownership. Most teams are responsible for paying rent and having a lease to use the stadiums.
When a team threatens to move they're not being evil or inconsiderate; they're just shopping for the best renter's deal. Lets look at this in a more personal comparison. If you're renting a home and that home has problems or gets older so it doesn't compete with the other options you have out there then you may just move, unless the owner fixes these issues with their capital. These teams renting out the stadium are essentially demanding to have the property improved and fixed so they may continue to conduct their business, if that isn't provided then its only natural to find somewhere else that they can be sure they'll be able to run their business optimally.
Sun Life stadium has no public ownership. Ross gets to keep the naming rights revenue. He doesn't pay anyone rent to use the stadium for his team. It is bluntly inappropriate for him to ask us to spend our time and lives working so that we can give the fruits of labor to him directly for his personal interest.
While I will not go out of my way to extensively research the precedents set here, there is at least one example similar to our situation that we can see in Gillette Stadium. The construction of this project originally went after public funding and ultimately failed after several tries. Kraft wanted this stadium and he built it completely at his own expense. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gillette_Stadium. Kraft owns that stadium as Ross owns his stadium. The precedent that is set here is Ross should be fiscally responsible for it and whatever improvements he wants out of it. If renovations benefit other businesses in his community then he would look for strategic deals within those groups who have a shared interest.
It was kindly pointed out that my information on Gillette Stadium was not correct, but the precedent still does exist where the construction of Metlife Stadium in New York (2010) did not receive public funding. This document goes over the different stadium's funding, but does not appear to discuss ownership: http://cbsminnesota.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/nfl-funding-summary-12-2-11.pdf.
Why Ross is throwing a temper tantrum and his main interest is not hosting the big events
The latest announcement from Dee leaves me the impression that Ross's priority here was not to bring events and be the one to host them in his stadium. This was purely a business move, and a sleazy one at that. Effectively if we give Ross this funding we are lowering his cost of business and giving him a free bump in his net worth by hedging his investment in his stadium.
It is clear Ross will be selling the team and stadium. When the stadium sells any public money spent on it will improve the value of the stadium and will reflect in his sale price. While we're not directly handing him the public money we are facilitating the translation of it to him in this manner. These benefits aren't purely greed but strategic, if Ross was likely to take a loss he lessens the risk by injecting our money into his property.
Frankly if Ross's end game was to be the host to these major events and bring them to the community the failed legislature would not stop him. He's already raised the interest of private funding and could hedge his investment in the stadium by seeking more or creating good strategic relationships within the private sectors. This would translate into renovations that could be afforded to make the stadium more attractive and/or friendly to ticket purchasers. Instead Ross is saying it's all or nothing and we have to help him pay for his house.