Just when you thought you’d heard it all, along comes the Miami Boat Show. Appearing before a Senate committee in Tallahassee, it asked for $1.25 million of taxpayer money to offset a projected $6 million loss caused by having to move out of the Miami Beach Convention Center.
One can only imagine what boat-show officials were thinking. A for-profit commercial venture is requesting taxpayer money because the center is undergoing a 36-month renovation causing shows to relocate. Does this mean the auto, home, antique and jewelry shows can also request tax money? How about the restaurants that will lose thousands of customers?
There’s a precedent as to renovation of the center. In 1987-89, I was vice chairman of the Miami Beach Tourism Convention Center Expansion Authority. What makes this relevant is that during the construction we didn’t move one show, no one had to relocate.
Curiously, the show has agreed to pay $1.1 million to the city of Miami in rent. Does the state request cover that expenditure?
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Bottom line, taxpayer money should never be used to offset losses incurred by a for-profit business; to think otherwise is flat-out wrong.
Stu Blumberg, former chairman, Miami Beach Convention Center Advisory Board, Miami