THE RULING: A judge on Friday declared Hillsborough County's deal to build a $168-million football stadium for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers unconstitutional.
Pendino's ruling focused on one main point: that the Bucs would receive the first $2-million a year in stadium revenue unrelated to football, such as from concerts and other events.
Pendino did agree with the county that there is a substantial economic benefit for the community in keeping the Bucs and hosting the 2001 Super Bowl and that the Bucs instill civic pride and enhance Tampa Bay's national image.
STADIUM CONSTRUCTION: The county has enough money to continue construction on the new stadium until mid-April. Commissioners plan to meet April 9 to discuss how to pay for further work. But the county now cannot issue the bonds necessary to finish the new stadium under the deal's current terms. If a stadium is not built by the fall of 1998, the county could have to pay millions in penalties to the Bucs.
COURT APPEAL: The county has until Wednesday to file an appeal of the decision to the Florida Supreme Court. Government attorneys and officials will meet today to try to determine their next step.
TAX INCREASE: The decision has no effect on the half-cent sales tax increase passed by Hillsborough voters in September. The tax will continue to be collected, and the money pledged toward schools, roads, jails, police equipment and other project will not change.