Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross pledges to pay for at least one-half of the estimated $400 million required to refurbish Sun Life stadium and asks that tax money and tax holidays be used to pay the rest. If he gets his way, he promises that the team will remain for at least 30 years, reviving the oft-used threat that if government does not assist, he might have to move elsewhere.
Why is the use of tax dollars to renovate a privately owned facility appropriate? Have there not been numerous studies that refute the argument that the rest of the community gains economically when sports stadiums are publicly financed to assist private team owners?
Mr. Ross is not a multi-millionaire, but a billionaire!
He ought to be able to pay the entire amount from his own pocket. He asserts that his proposal will be a positive for the community, but he does not want the issue submitted to a referendum. Neither did the Marlins’ owner for the same reason.
The local Chamber of Commerce is a supporter of this use of tax money, as is Donald Trump. Persons and organizations that decry too much welfare and too many entitlements see no irony or contradiction in their endorsement of a billionaire and his outstretched hand.
Politicians at all levels of government should continuously be thinking about the proper uses of government funds. At the local level, projects such as a refurbished water and sewer system, a secure bridge to Key Biscayne, more money for improvements to public education and more pay for teachers should be at or near the top of the “to do” list. Mr. Ross’s request should not even be on it.
Terrance J. Mullin, Coral Gables