Tax exemption for all-star games hits home run with House committee

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An extension of admissions-tax exemptions to cover professional sports all-star games was a home run at the House Economic Affairs Committee, passing Friday unopposed.

State Rep. Jason Brodeur, sponsor of HB 231, said the changes would meet the increasing demands of professional sports leagues.

“The genesis of this is because the leagues have now said that in their (request for proposals) for all-star games that you must provide this sales-tax exemption on just the tickets, we’re not talking about hotels and restaurants … or you will not even be in consideration for it,” said the Sanford Republican.

Brodeur did not go as far as to say lifting the tax would help draw fans to Florida, but he did say the events do help propel the economy.

Orange County hotels and restaurants experienced a $53 million direct impact when the 2012 National Basketball Association all-star game took place in Orlando, Brodeur said, adding that last season’s Kansas City Major League Soccer all-star game created as much as $15 million to $20 million in economic impact.

If passed, the exemption would extend to future MLS all-star games in Florida, and it makes clear the tax would also be excused for events connected with NBA all-star games.

Florida already exempts admissions to all-star games hosted by the Major League Baseball, the NBA, the National Hockey League, championship games of the National Football League and the Pro Bowl, in addition to any semifinal tournament or contest in a national collegiate championship.

Also excepted are baseball’s Home Run Derby, the NBA Rookie Challenge, Celebrity Game, 3-Point Shooting Contest and Slam Dunk Challenge.

For events surrounding the NBA all-star game, the bill gives them a “generic” designation.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.