Dolphins hopes for new stadium bolstered by Florida tax vote

Streeter Lecka

The Dolphins are looking for big upgrades to their old stadium, with the help of taxpayers.

The Miami Dolphins want an upgraded stadium, and so far things are looking solid.

Miami is currently playing in Sun Life Stadium, originally known as Joe Robbie Stadium after its initial owner. Now, the team wants to put in some serious renovations to the 25-year-old building, including a canopy that covers the fans from searing sunbeams and driving rain.

On Tuesday, the Dolphins got a unanimous vote by the Florida Senate in favor of the $400 million facility upgrade, with half of that capital coming from the public taxpayers of the county, according to the Miami Herald.

"We’ve got an excellent opportunity to really have a turbo-generator of economic activity," Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, said of the Dolphins deal. "It can be a blueprint. That’s something we can do because I don’t know if the [Jacksonville] Jags or others will want help. This is a blueprint, where they are not given the money, but they have to go out and earn it."

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Now, those in charge of pushing the changes to Sun Life Stadium need to convince the Florida House that it will help the state's economy. This is expected to be a tough battle, trying to convince a state government that is already spread thin for money to approve another sports upgrade.

Perhaps just as vital to the deal being struck is the Dolphins' brass getting a $90 million sales tax rebate over the next 30 years from the government.

However, the deal still has plenty of roadblocks and people of power who don't want to see it succeed. According to the Miami New Times, one such man is Norman Braman, a local magnate who still believes it will ultimately fail.

"This will not pass finally in Tallahassee," Braman told CBSMiami before the hearing. "It will probably get past the committee this week. But that's throwing a bone to the lobbyist."

If the proposed upgrades go through, it has been estimated that five Super Bowls might land in Miami, an obvious financial windfall for the county.

The Dolphins have some pull in the area when you consider the Miami Marlins of Major League Baseball, who just got a huge, sparkling new ballpark with the aid of taxpayer money. On top of that, the Dolphins are a fixture in South Florida compared to the Marlins, who have constantly failed to draw any fans.

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