The Dolphins are only six weeks away from a potential countywide referendum regarding increased local hotel taxes to help fund renovations to Sun Life Stadium. For now, the biggest problem isn’t the current national mood against the use of taxpayer money for sports arenas (in the absence of relocation leverage) but the fact that no agreement has been reached between the Dolphins and the politicians.
According to the Miami Herald, the city has yet to strike a deal with the team (let’s hope the open meetings laws are respected), and the county commission is contemplating a special session to schedule the vote.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez said. “It’s hard, but it’s doable.”
With a mandatory 30-day notice period before the planned May 14 referendum, the “doable” window is quickly shrinking.
The project also requires state-level approval. On Wednesday, the proposal picked up a positive vote from the House Economic Affairs Committee, one of various hurdles that must be overcome in the legislature. The funding bill is more likely to become a law because the citizens ultimately will have a chance to vote yes or no on the plan.
In the end, that’s the biggest question. Who will be more motivated to arrive at the ballot box — those who believe public support for a sports venue that can attract Super Bowls and other major events is necessary, or those who oppose welfare for billionaires in any form?