American for Prosperity praises Bryan Avila’s bill to kill stadium incentives
Rep. Mike La Rosa, R-St. Cloud is congratulated by Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Hialeah after passage of his CS/HB 425: Vacation Rentals bill on the floor of the House Friday, April 28, 2017 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (Photo by Phil Sears)

Legislature 21 ps 042817

Republican state Rep. Bryan Avila earned some praise from Americans for Prosperity-Florida for sponsoring a bill to kill Sunshine State stadium deals.

The conservative group called the Florida Sports Development Fund, an incentive program greenlighted by lawmakers in 2014, “corporate welfare” and lauded Avila’s HB 6005, filed Tuesday, for attempting to repeal the “sports incentive slush fund.”

The 2014 law puts aside $13 million a year for stadium deals and was backed by Clearwater Sen. Jack Latvala, who is now chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a GOP candidate for governor. Since its passage, the House has blocked funding for the program.

“The Florida Sports Development Fund is not a proper role of government; it’s corporate welfare. Why should taxpayers foot the bill for billionaire sports owners who want to expand their facilities? We applaud Representative Avila for continuing to lead the charge on eliminating corporate welfare programs and we call on his colleagues in the House and Senate to move quickly on this bill,” said AFP-FL State Director Chris Hudson.

The Florida Sports Development Fund allowed professional football, basketball, hockey and soccer teams as well as NASCAR tracks to apply for stadium funding deals that could pay out as much as $90 million per venue over as many as 30 years.

Since 2015, the Miami Dolphins, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Daytona International Speedway have applied for money from the fund to build or expand their facilities.

AFP-FL pointed to criticisms from Florida’s chief economist, Amy Baker, who has said the fund’s proponents have used incorrect Return On Investment projections to calculate the benefit stadium deals provide for Florida taxpayers.

Avila’s bill would only cut out state money from stadium deals, leaving local governments on their own if they choose to enter an agreement with a sports team. The bill does not yet have a Senate companion.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

One comment

  • Peter Harding

    August 23, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    If you want to see corporate welfare at its finest come to Jacksonville where the city council agreed to hand $45 million to the Jaguars owner Shad Khan to build an amphitheater at his sports stadium. The city will own the property but only get ticket and parking surcharges while Khan will get ticket and concession revenues. Who is the winner on that sweet deal? It won’t be Jacksonville, that’s for sure.

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