Someone once said, There’s nothing new under the sun. It seems there’s no end to the Greater Miami Chamber of Com-merce’s support for using public tax money for billionaires’ privately owned businesses. It now is supporting improvements to Dolphins’ stadium, just as it supported the horrendous Marlins’ Park deal, another tax giveaway to a private business.
The Marlins, along with ex-Mayors Manny Diaz and Carlos Alvarez and others, also promised lots of local jobs, a Little Havana economic boom and that international soccer would use the Marlins Park. In fact, at a public hearing, the chamber called the Marlins boondoggle “a legacy-creating project that would create jobs and infrastructure.” What happened? Then and now, the chamber chose to ignore independent studies that show little lasting economic gain from publicly financed stadiums.
The chamber-supported deal for Stephen Ross is for us to increase the hotel bed tax by 1cent to give Mr. Ross $200 million and for the state to give him an additional $3 million sales tax rebate annually for 30 years so he can improve his privately owned stadium that was originally built by Joe Robbie with his own money.
It seems the chamber forgot that in 1997, it voted to “oppose an increase in the county’s bed tax aimed at tourists,” reasoning that “such an increase in taxes would hurt tourism and the region’s economy,” proving again that “consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” The chamber “believe[s] and trust[s]” that Mr. Ross will make a “fair deal.” He is a very successful private businessman who can afford to and should write his own check just as other private businesses do when they want to improve their businesses. Of all organizations, the chamber should know this.
Recent polls show about 85 percent of the people are against this deal. Who’s smarter? The chamber or the public?
Norman Braman, Miami