Reporting David Sutta
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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – It’s deep in the fourth quarter in the Florida Legislature and the supporters of the bills allowing Miami-Dade County voters to decide whether tourist tax dollars will go to upgrade Sun Life Stadium have gone to a hurry-up offense trying to get the bills passed.
The Miami Dolphins’ hired gun, lobbyist Ron Book, was working Thursday trying to grease the skids on the legislation. The bill was headed for a floor vote in the Senate, but the sponsor, Senator Oscar Braynon, pulled the bill Thursday morning.
“I want to make sure that whatever we send over to the House; they are ready to pick up and everybody agrees with it,” Senator Braynon said.
The biggest roadblock for the bill’s passage is the Florida House of Representatives where it’s been stalled in committees. Braynon said he is trying to put together a compromise bill that will be full of friendly amendments that include just about anyone with a stadium in the state.
“Let’s just create an even system for everybody, that’s fair,” Braynon said. “Let’s do away with whoever has the best lobbyist. It’s who has the best program, who’s able to give the most money back to the state.”
Braynon revised plan was met with some hope from House members.
“When that plan comes this way hopefully we can somehow take it up,” said Representative Eddy Gonzalez. “If we take it up I strongly believe that we have the votes to pass this in the Florida House. And if that’s not the case we are looking at other options. You know at the end of session you have to get crafty.”
But the proponents of the plan are facing a massive goal line stand from billionaire auto tycoon Norman Braman. He’s become the face of opposing any public financing for any stadium. Braman said he will try to stop the deal in Tallahassee before it gets to Miami-Dade County voters.
“Norman gets it right most of the time, but he doesn’t have it right now,” said Book.
“I feel like we have a pretty good chance,” Braman said.
For the stadium deal, the biggest uncertainty is when will enough be enough. Every week, even every day, the deal is changing to ensure passage.
““When I tried to hit a 20 yarder they moved it 40. And when I tried to hit a 40 they moved it to 60. There is not much more I can do,” said Gonzalez.
CBS4’s David Sutta replied, “Next comes a Hail Mary.” Gonzalez replied, “There is not much more I can do. Yeah exactly. To try to satisfy the opposition.”
The last day of the legislative session is next Friday, May 3rd. If the bill isn’t passed in Tallahassee by that date, the entire deal is cancelled and no vote will be held.