Last fall we learned that the city of Miami faces an unexpected $1.2 million property tax bill as a result of its largess to Jeff Loria and the Miami Marlins. Seems the city thought that a stadium parking garage it built and paid for is not going to be exempt from property taxes because, despite the fact that it is a publicly-owned facility, it is used for the benefit of a private business (i.e. the Marlins). Which leases it from the city. And profits from it, of course.
State lawmakers have been trying to pass a bill that would save Miami from having to pay that property tax — sorry schools, roads and infrastructure! — but they’ve hit a roadblock: the bill appears as though it would be unconstitutional.
How will this ever be resolved?
- (a) Someone in Tallahassee will figure out how to ram the law though one way or another, thereby shorting the county’s coffers of tax revenue that it has every right to given that the parking garage is a profit center for both the city and the Marlins;
- (b) No law will be passed and Miami taxpayers will have to pony up an extra $1.2 million on top of what they’re already paying to enrich Jeff Loria; or
- (c) Loria and the Marlins will do the right thing and compensate the city for the property taxes, what with the garage being a publicly-funded cash cow for the team and $1.2 million being mere rounding error for them, thanks in part to the giant windfall they have already received?
If your guess is (c), you have no paid much attention to how the business of publicly funded stadiums has gone on in this country over the past 20 years or so.