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Save Miami Gardens from billionaires wanting tax breaks

Reginald J. Clyne | 3/27/2014, 9 a.m.
Stephen Ross is worth $5.4 billion. He is willing to put up $350 million of his own money to renovate ...

Stephen Ross is worth $5.4 billion. He is willing to put up $350 million of his own money to renovate his own stadium. In return, he wants a $4 million per year tax break. Over 30 years, the tax break is worth $120 million, which is close to the $127 million that Ross wanted last year. Last year, Ross sought $127 million from a hotel tax increase that would pay between $7 million to $16 million per year toward the cost of

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Reginald J. Clyne

renovation. I supported the request for additional taxes to help defray the stadium renovations. I appreciated the fact that Ross was putting in a majority of the money to renovate the stadium and that the tax burden hit visiting tourists.

According to the Sun Sentinel the newest proposal is a good deal, because Mr. Ross is putting up his money, and he is simply asking for the same tax relief given to the Marlins and the Heat. The American Airlines Arena and Marlins Stadium are both owned by the County and therefore subject to no tax. My problem with this logic is that I did not believe the American Airlines Arenas should have been built six years after we just built a new basketball arena in Overtown. The Marlin deal is considered by many to have been a large rip-off especially when it came to light that the Marlins were not as poor as they claimed when their financial statements were finally revealed. Thus, in my mind, because the County made two bad deals is no reason to make another bad deal.

I have a problem with the current request for a $4 million dollar tax break per year, because this tax break comes at the expense of the school children of Miami-Dade County (1.3 million per year) and the residents of the City of Miami Gardens ($1 million per year). Mayor Gilbert states that if the City loses $1 million, then he cannot pay his police department, can’t pay the FPL bill, can’t pay for after school teachers – you get the picture. Unlike last year, where the tax fell on visiting tourists, the current proposed tax break hits two very vulnerable groups, school children and residents of Miami Gardens. The County would be the entity effectuating the change, but the majority of the problem impacts two other groups.