New bill would eliminate free money from the state for sports franchises

Critics call it a slush-fund of corporate welfare
Posted at 6:51 PM, Aug 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-23 18:51:35-04

State lawmakers are once again pushing to chop off a free funding source for Florida's professional sports teams.

House Bill 6005, just filed on Tuesday, would eliminate the state's so called "sports development program," which was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott as a way to channel tax payer money to everything from spring training teams to the state's NFL franchises, in order to help them pay for new stadiums and upgrades.

But critics call it  a "Slush Fund" that allows the state to enter into long term contracts with sports teams worth potentially tens of millions of dollars.

The Tampa Bay Bucs, valued at nearly $2 billion, applied for a $3 million handout from the state to help pay for improvements to Raymond James Stadium. They never got the money because the house has refused to award it.

"If we can get rid of this failed program that doesn't serve any public benefits. We can make sure taxpayer dollars are used for their highest use like education transportation to essential government services not simply to a sports franchise that should be out there supporting their business on their own," says Andres Malave, a spokesperson for Americans for Prosperity