Sen. David Simmons files tax-exemption bill for Major League Soccer All-Star Game

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State Sen. David Simmons is proposing to include the Major League Soccer all-star game to a list of tax-exempt events, even though there has not been a MLS club in Florida in more than a decade.

The Republican from Altamont Springs filed SB330 this week, to help further attract MLS interest in expanding to Florida, in addition to active efforts in both Orlando and Miami.

Simmons’ proposal would add the annual soccer match to a list of exhibitions and post-season contests exempt from admissions tax. Florida already gives tax breaks for all-star games from Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and National Basketball Association, as well as the National Football League championship games and Pro Bowl.

The state also gives tax breaks to semifinal or championship games in national collegiate tournaments, MLB’s Home Run Derby and games leading up to the NBA’s All-Star game.

Simmons had sponsored an earlier MLS measure (SB 358), which failed in the 2013 legislative session. That bill would have directed $2 million a year in sales taxes to assist in the construction of a soccer stadium in Orlando, a prerequisite for an expansion franchise.

More proposals could come in 2014 or 2015 as Orange County Commissioners approved $20 million of tourism taxes last week to support a downtown stadium expected to cost as much as $84 million.

There are rumors that retired soccer superstar David Beckham is meeting with investors to develop a Miami MLS expansion team.

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.