The decision of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to give $200 million to the University of Michigan invites an obvious question from those who oppose the use of taxpayer funds to upgrade Sun Life Stadium.
Why not use that $200 million for the upgrades instead of seeking up to $289 million from taxpayers?
“They are very different subjects, and I think it is important to be committed to both,” Ross said in a statement issued by the Dolphins. “As I’ve often said, I’ve promised to pay a large portion of the stadium upgrade costs but the community who would substantially benefit also needs to be involved. I also think it’s extremely important to be a good citizen from a philanthropic standpoint, and to set an example for others to do the same. Both commitments are important to me and both have the potential to leave a lasting legacy that will benefit so many people.”
It all makes logical sense. At a time when more and more cities are kicking in cash for stadium constructions and improvements, it’s easy to make the argument that taxpayer money should be used to upgrade Sun Life Stadium, especially if the changes will help attract Super Bowls and other events.
But logic goes out the window when a billionaire is pulling $200 million out of one pocket and looking for $289 million to be stuffed by taxpayers into another.