Jewish World Review April 29, 2003 / 27 Nissan, 5763

Evan Weiner

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Consumer Reports


Using sports teams to pay a city's bills


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | There could be trouble ahead for all of Florida's Major League sports franchises if that state's counties that house teams have their way.

While politicians in Washington debate about tax cuts as a way to stimulate the economy, local elected politicians have to balance budgets.

Some counties in Florida want to get public stadiums and arenas on the property tax rolls as a way to raise badly needed cash. Tampa's arena could bring in up to a million dollars to Hillsborough County which could go to offset some of the budget gaps.

Who would pay for the property tax? The lightning and that's the problem. Teams signed leases without having to deal with property taxes.

Florida counties aren't the only governments looking to get arenas and stadiums on the property taxrolls. One New York City councilman wants Madison Square Garden to pay $11 million in annual property taxes.

Governments are broke and may resort to rewriting the sweetheart leases that they gave out years ago when they sought or wanted to maintain Big League status.

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JWR contributor Evan Weiner is a radio commentator on "The Business of Sports" for Westwood One's Metro Networks. He is being presented with the United States Sports Academy's Distinguished Service Award for 2003. Comment on this column by clicking here.

Up

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© 2003, Evan Weiner