Legislature: Pro teams on the hook for homeless

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Professional sports teams would be required to do their part to house the homeless or lose state tax revenue under a proposal passed Monday by a Senate committee, reports the News Service of Florida. Citing a 1988 statute he says has largely been ignored, Sen Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, said he wants franchises to return the $166,000 a month they receive in state tax revenue unless they comply with a law that has says “any professional sports facility constructed with financial assistance from the State of Florida shall be designated as a shelter site for the homeless in accordance with the criteria of locally existing homeless shelter programs, except when the facility is otherwise contractually obligated for a specific event or activity.” An amendment adopted during the meeting would also require sports franchises that black out local games to provide free tickets to needy kids. The bill is the latest in an ongoing spat between Bennett and professional baseball and football franchises, which Bennett claims can afford to pay their own way, but have balked. The bill, SB 816, passed unanimously from the Senate Community Affairs Committee, which Bennett chairs.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.