Sorry, gentlemen, but that’s a pretty arbitrary deadline. There will be other years to compete for the bowl, and San Francisco, which is in the running for the 2016 Super Bowl, is building a brand new stadium. What are the odds they’ll be passed up?
Plus, there’s the issue of bed-tax money going to a privately owned stadium sitting on publicly owned land. Is that even legal? The solution might be negotiating some type of operating agreement similar to the one the Miami Heat have with the county to operate the downtown arena, but that’s not something that can be wrapped up in a few weeks.
The most troublesome part to me of the Dolphins’ proposal is their bid to get back about $3 million a year in sales taxes that their patrons pay when they attend stadium events — a tax break that several sports facilities throughout Florida now enjoy. There, too, timing is everything.
In a year when the state is starting to come up from under water, when the Legislature will meet soon without the specter of next year’s budget facing a potential deficit in revenue, and after public schools and universities have been hit hard with cuts because of the ailing economy, asking the state to give up money that could go to help kids or the elderly isn’t in the Tallahassee cards.
As it is, the Dolphins already get about $2 million a year from a state tax rebate. That rebate, tied to changes made to the stadium to accommodate the Marlins when they played baseball there, expires in 2023 .
The Dolphins may indeed find a way to structure a deal that’s good for this community, and unlike the Marlins management, Ross promises to put up a whole lot more cash and make public the Dolphins’ financials (as much as the NFL will “allow”) to make his case.
That’s a start, but my sense is getting to the goal line will take a lot more time than three months of negotiations can achieve. And it should.