Florida Rejects $350 Million in Corporate Welfare For The Miami Dolphins

174px-Miami_Dolphins_logo.svg220px-NFL_Jets_at_Dolphins-Sun_Life_Stadium-2012-09-24Something extraordinary happened in Tallahasee this week. The legislature actually turned down a demand for hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate welfare for the Miami Dolphins. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross descended on the capitol with an army of lobbyists and pocket legislators to muscle through the package to upgrade his stadium at public expense. They did all of the formulaic moves seen in other states where legislators have opened the treasury to billionaire owners: they lined up unemployed people who would get jobs, Dolphin fans supporting their team, and politicians standing with the owner. This time however legislators balked and actually voted the public rather than their personal interest.

Not all legislators of course. Ross found willing agents like Rep. Eddy Gonzalez, R-Hialeah and Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami, who did his bidding to raid the treasury for $350 million upgrade of Sun Life Stadium in a state that is cutting core educational and social programs. Even in the age of corporate welfare for sports teams, the demand was obscene.

It is particularly remarkable given Florida’s political structure. I worked as the legal consultant for the Florida House of Representatives for a year and was shocked by the degree of control exercised by lobbyists. Due to the lunacy of term limitations, members are not in office long enough to learn much about the system before they have to leave office. The result is that lobbyists write the laws and direct the members. Moreover, since members are only in office for a short time, they are more susceptible to offers of jobs and perks from lobbyists. I saw incredible parties thrown by lobbyists who found ways to shower staff and members with gifts. This is made even worse by the ridiculously short legislative sessions.

However, even with those problems of legislative capture in Florida, the members somehow stood up to the demands of Ross, who was irate at being denied hundreds of millions of dollars from Florida taxpayers. Keeping a straight face, Ross actually blamed the legislators of playing politics. He lashed out at House Speaker Will Weatherford and insisted “[h]e put politics before the people and the 4,000 jobs this project would have created for Miami Dade, and that is just wrong.”

In some strange universe where billionaires dwell, this may seem wrong, but it seems just right to most of us leaving on Earth.

Source: Miami Herald

54 thoughts on “Florida Rejects $350 Million in Corporate Welfare For The Miami Dolphins”

  1. It seems like Florida of all places could have put that money to better use. Good for the legislature for voting the public interest.

  2. Nice observed:
    “Blouise, Some conspiracy folks here would believe the spam filter is reading your mind.”
    That is why those folks wrap their DSL modems in tin foil.

  3. St. Louis could prove itself to be the best sports town, IF it tells the Rams to go Ram themselves in their behinds and go elsewhere. Maybe Kroneke or what ever his name is will close some Walmarts on the way to LA. I am proud of FL for saying No. Some wealthy guy in Saint Louis gave the Saint Louis University Billikens enough money to fund a new arena and it is a fabulous place.

  4. Gene,

    To tell you the truth, Tex looks alot like Dr. Hook including the eye patch (I kid you not) and in his youth, the long hair … except Tex is 6’4″.

    “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.” should be our (you and me) theme song.

    I also enjoyed Baldwin’s Shadow

  5. Blouise,

    Interesting tune. A song of his I was not familiar with which is surprising as my uncles were big fans of Dr. Hook back in the day and I’m a huge fan of the Shadow. I even liked the Alec Baldwin movie. Beautifully shot, great art direction and any cast with both Jonathan Winters and Peter Boyle can’t be all bad.

    Also, I asked the spam filter if it was reading your mind and it said the cleanest thought it could detect was “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.” Then it mumbled something about Tex being ruggedly handsome, blushed and malfunctioned again. :mrgreen:

  6. Blouise, A Dr. Hook reference out of the blue! I went to school w/ a lot of North Jersey kids who loved “The Doctor.” I never acquired the taste.

  7. How boring the blog would be without the ‘controversial’ posters…lol..

  8. Blouise, Some conspiracy folks here would believe the spam filter is reading your mind.

  9. ap and SwM,

    Whatever does the spam filter have against us … we’re such laid back, non-controversial posters

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