Sen. Dorothy Hukill files bill to help Daytona International Speedway

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A Republican state Senator from Port Orange wants to give the Daytona International Speedway $60 million in state sales tax discounts for track improvements.

 Sen. Dorothy Hukill filed a bill this week for the iconic Speedway to receive $2 million in sales tax rebates every year, according to Eileen Zaffiro-Kean in the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Rebates will be in exchange for $400 million in renovations to the grandstand, which began in July. The repayments would last for 30 years.

This tax break is similar to what other professional sports organizations have received for nearly 20 years. Speedway officials say it certainly appropriate, in light of the $1.6 billion annual economic impact the venue has on the state economy.

Daytona International Speedway, the International Speedway Corp. and associated businesses produce around 18,000 permanent Florida jobs, with more than $241 million yearly created in federal, state and local taxes.

The Legislature rejected a similar bill last session. That proposal asked for a one-time $10 million rebate on building materials used to develop new entrances, 11 large concourses and an overhauled seating area.

In the new bill, the Speedway must spend a minimum of $250 million on the project, scheduled for completion in 2016. The state Department of Economic Opportunity will also need to validate the Speedway as a motorsports entertainment complex, verifying the Speedway will attract at least 100,000 paying fans every year.

In addition, the Daytona Beach City Commission will have to pass a resolution confirming the Speedway serves a public purpose, with at least 50,000 fixed seats. That requirement will be easy. Once the renovations are completed, the track will have twice that many seats.

Monthly payments on the rebates would start 60 days after completed certification.

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.