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Mitch Perry Report for 4.12.16 – Will anyone question the NY Yankees/Steinbrenner field $40 million upgrade?

The New York  Yankees are worth at least $3.4 billion, according to Forbes. Depending on what survey you look at, they are either the 2nd or 3rd most valuable sports property in the world (behind only Real Madrid and maybe the Dallas Cowboys).

Despite that vast wealth, the ball club and the Tampa Sports Authority are comfortable with the fact that local and state taxes will pay for two-thirds of the $40 million upgrade for George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, the home of the New York Yankees spring training and the class A Yankees farm team.

The deal would extend their lease at the ballpark, built in 1996, for another 21 years.

Four local government agencies have to approve it after the Tampa Sports Authority’s board of directors undoubtedly give it the A-OK next week.

The Tampa City Council, Hillsborough County Commission, Hillsborough Aviation Authority and the HCC board of directors will also have a vote.

What’s the over/under on how many lawmakers question the provisions of the deal?

No doubt, the Yankees bring people from New York and other stations into the city and county in March, when spring training takes over in 15 different locales throughout the Sunshine State.

The Class A Yankees team? That’s debatable about how much economic activity they bring to the community (and the same can be said about the other Class A minor league teams in Florida).

When the TSA came to the County Commission with a deal for the taxpayers to supply $29 million in upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in December, Commissioner Stacy White voted no.

That was a very different deal, however. Officials said the county was obligated by the 1996 stadium lease agreement to pay half the costs of necessary upgrades to the stadium.

That’s not the case with Steinbrenner Field.

Will Americans for Prosperity Florida reach out to their members to tell lawmakers to resist the deal? They contacted a lot of folks before that Raymond James vote, and could only manage a paltry few people to come out in dissent.

Don’t expect much of a public debate.

In other news…

Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission executive director Kyle Cockream acknowledges he met with Palm Beach County Commissioners for two days last week at the request of a taxicab official, but says he was just there as a “resource.”

St. Petersburg House Democrat Dwight Dudley says he never though too hard about running for state senate, and is now digging into winning reelection to his HD 68 seat in Pinellas County.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman says she will also eschew a run for state senate to  focus on winning re-eleciton to her seat with the Board of County Commissioners.

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is proudly getting behind one of his former colleagues, Pinellas County Democratic candidate Eric Lynn, in his race for congress.

One of the local legislative house districts that Democrats in Tallahassee think they can flip is the HD 63 seat currently held by Republican Shawn Harrison. Maybe they can, but Harrison continues to lead impressively in total of his fundraising totals.

Consumers for Smart Solar spent nearly $268K last month as the campaign for that controversial solar power ballot initiative continues.

And the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce has more information on that poll on the Go Hillsborough transportation proposal. The upshot? Support wavers depending on the information voters are given.

And Bill Nelson calls on the House to support the $1.9 billion funding request from the president for Zika research.

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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