Governor signs pro sports stadium funding bill

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Professional sports organizations looking to build new stadiums or upgrade current ones will get taxpayer help under a bill signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

On Friday, Rick Scott signed HB 7095, a bill that will help pay for proposed projects ranging from a Miami professional soccer stadium to renovations of the Daytona International Speedway. It establishes a process by which sports franchises are able to apply to receive sales tax refunds from the state, based on sales tax generated by their facility.

Eligible organizations can now apply to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, which will evaluate and make funding recommendations through the Legislative Budget Commission, a bi-partisan committee of senators and representatives. The Commission, which meets throughout the year, will approve funding to qualified applicants.

HB 7095 forms a pool of $13 million in taxpayer-supported subsidies to spend each year, with no team receiving more than $3 million a year. Projects must cost a minimum of $100 million to qualify.

The new law also requires Major League Baseball to change its policy on the treatment of Cuban players before the Marlins or Rays can get a share of state money set aside for stadiums.

Among the projects that could benefit from the new law is Daytona International Speedway’s DAYTONA Rising project, a $400 million renovation, which supporters say will bring significant job creation and economic benefit to the region.

Started in July 2013, DAYTONA Rising could create an estimated 6,300 jobs during construction, generating $300 million in labor income and more than $80 million in tax revenue.

“We would like to thank Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature for recognizing the importance of large-scale projects that are good for Florida’s economy,” said International Speedway Corporation Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy.  “Our local supporters and community partners worked hard during the last legislative session to help keep millions of dollars in new tax revenues in our region. By setting up an equitable process for facilities to partner with the state, this law sets the framework to potentially provide additional capital for the DAYTONA Rising project, allowing us to build upon the already massive economic benefits to the State of Florida.”

“Governor Rick Scott understands that a fair process, based on proven economic growth numbers, is the right way for the state to partner on job creation projects,” added Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III. We are thankful for the vision and leadership shown by the Governor and Florida Legislature in supporting development such as DAYTONA Rising.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.