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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bill would require voters to approve spending tax money for sports teams



A bill filed in Tallahassee could throw a wrinkle in plans by the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey owners to use tax money for an upgrade to the arena where they play their games.

Sen. Mike Bennett, a Republican from Bradenton, and Rep. Fred Costello, an Ormond Beach Republican, are sponsoring legislation that would require voters to approve any tax money used to benefit professional sports teams. 

"Every person in this state who owns a home and has to see their property tax increase year by year, deserves not to have their hard earned money go to support a sports franchise,” Bennett said in a prepared statement. "It’s a matter of fairness. If you can pay someone $52 million to play the game of baseball, certainly you can build your own stadium with your own money."

the bills prohibit tax money to be used for the benefit of sports teams or to build or improve their facilities unless it has been approved by voters. The bill also calls for taxation of otherwise tax-exempt, government owned properties if they're used largely for nongovernmental purposes.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 17, 2011 6:37pm]


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