The Miami Dolphins CEO said last week that he would not “close the door” on moving the team to Palm Beach County. Let us close it for him.
Mike Dee and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross have been busy being furious for the last nine days, since a plan to raise money for renovations to the Dolphins’ stadium failed in the Legislature. The bill would have allowed Miami-Dade County to raise the tax on hotel and motel rooms from 6 cents to 7 cents, and would have given the team an additional $90 million in state sales tax exemptions over 30 years.
Had the bill passed, Miami-Dade voters would have decided Tuesday whether to raise the tax and direct the revenue toward a roughly $400 million renovation plan. Mr. Ross would have put up about half the money. In Mr. Ross’ grand plan, on May 22 the National Football League would have awarded the 50th Super Bowl to the new stadium.
The Senate approved the bill, but House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, never scheduled a vote. Mr. Ross, who was a principal in West Palm Beach’s CityPlace development and is known to bluster, predictably blasted Rep. Weatherford. But then Mr. Dee vented that the vote could jeopardize the team’s future in Miami-Dade.
After further review, as they say in the NFL, Mr. Dee should overrule his outburst. Rep. Weatherford is from Pasco County, north of Tampa. Miami-Dade legislators didn’t sabotage his dream. Had the plan failed at the polls, the team might have a gripe. Instead, Mr. Dee needlessly insulted Dolphin fans, and Mr. Ross came off as the spoiled billionaire owner recent letters to the editor have made him out to be.
Which brings us back to Palm Beach County, and whether any public official should approach the team about moving. The answer is no. Building a stadium would be prohibitively expensive. A provision that would have had Palm Beach County pay just some of the renovation costs was removed from the stadium bill. Even a second spring training site to complement Roger Dean Stadium could be a financial reach. The county would be mere leverage as the Dolphins tried to get more from Miami-Dade.
Mr. Ross’ idea could be good for the South Florida economy, making the stadium capable of hosting, say, a World Cup final. But when the Dolphins started threatening, they fumbled away any public support.
for The Post Editorial Board