The stadium was built on city-owned land later deeded over to the county, so the Marlins don’t have to pay property taxes.
• City of Miami: In March 2009, the city of Miami pledged $94 million for the city-owned, 5,800-spot parking structures (the final cost later dropped). The city also committed $13 million from bed taxes toward stadium construction, and $12 million for other improvements.
Marlins: The team agreed to pay about $120 million toward stadium construction, and borrowed an additional $35 million from the county. The team pays rent, starting at about $2.3 million a year, plus 2 percent a year, to pay back that loan. The team is also paying $6 million of the county’s construction costs. The Marlins pays the city about $10 per parking space.
If all this weren’t complicated enough, in 2011, the Miami Herald reported that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission — which was already reviewing the city of Miami’s finances — had launched a separate probe of the stadium deal, to see if the city misled investors about the parking complex bonds.
Experts say that Loria is omitting some key points
We interviewed a few stadium financing experts who said that while Loria was correct that hotel bed taxes paid for a huge chunk of the cost, his claim obscured the fact that it was still public money, and it could have been spent on other projects to benefit local taxpayers.
In an interview with PolitiFact, Marlins president David Samson defended Loria’s claim, noting that bed taxes can’t fund general government functions.
In response to renewed criticism about the 2009 Marlins stadium financing deal, Loria said "The majority of public funding came from hotel taxes, the burden of which is incurred by tourists who are visiting our city, NOT the resident taxpayers."
Loria is borrowing from politicians’ playbooks here: He cherry-picked a fact that puts the situation in the best light while omitting a thorough explanation. On the surface, he is correct: Much of the public funding for the stadium came from hotel bed taxes largely (though not entirely) paid for by tourists.
But these are still tax revenues that belong to the taxpayer, and if it didn’t go to the Marlins, it would have gone to some other public purpose to benefit those taxpayers. He also ignores that the county will be paying off that debt for decades. His implication that locals can shrug their shoulders at that public cost, and dismiss it as coming from the wallets of out of town tourists, is disingenuous.
We rate this claim Half True.
Miami Herald staff writer Charles Rabin contributed to this report.