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Commentators in the sports community lauded the efforts by the chambers of commerce to prop up baseball by using taxpayer dollars.
Tampa Bay Times sports columnist Gary Shelton summed up the debate by painting a dire picture for a world without public-subsidized stadiums, reiterating the necessity for passing this deal.
“You have every right to oppose a new stadium if you wish. Just understand this,” he wrote in apocalyptic terms this month. “Baseball is at stake. If you think a team is a community asset worth keeping, the eventual cost is going to be a new park”
The Miami Gamble
The city of Miami went through its own troubles with Marlins Park, the baseball stadium that opened in April and cost $634 million overall, a 50-percent increase from the original estimated price conjured up by the owners of the team in the initial stages of planning.
Norman Braman, a Miami-based billionaire automobile dealer and former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, told Florida Watchdog in April that public-financed parks such as Marlins Park always end up being losses for the taxpayers and boons for the private investors who set the deals up and profit immensely.
“I don’t believe in corporate welfare. I believe that the Marlins have the capacity to build their own stadium,” said Braman. “It shouldn’t be the taxpayers that build these things.”
As a successful billionaire philanthropist, Braman said he has long prided himself on conducting honest business that benefits consumers and his employees, without the interventionist hand of government.
And he put his money where his mouth is.
Braman put more than $500,000 into defeating Miami-Dade County Commissioners who approved the stadium deal while at the same time hiking property taxes, saddling taxpayers with years of debt, and burdening low-income families across the county.
“These are profit-making businesses. You make an investment in your own business, not the taxpayers,” he said. “No one cares about the taxpayers.”
This article originally appeared at Watchdog.org.