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Florida flap

The Marlins' stadium proposal is meeting resistance in the Florida legislature.

State Rep. Fred Brummer, R-Apopka, who chairs the House Finance and Tax Committee, is refusing to hear the request for a $60 million state sales tax rebate.

...Miami-Dade County and city of Miami officials, who are seeking the rebate to round out a $420 million plan for a ballpark east of the Orange Bowl, were already scrambling to prepare economic analyses on the benefits of a stadium for a Wednesday hearing before the Senate Commerce and Consumer Services Committee, when Brummer said he wouldn't hear the bill.

I would not expect a high quality analysis from this contingent. My evidence? Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, R-Miami:

Lopez-Cantera said he will present his own economic analysis this week showing a stadium's benefits.

"I told [Brummer] that if you can find an economist that says one thing, you can find an economist that says the opposite," Lopez-Cantera said.

Slander upon my profession calls for a response!

Lopez-Cantera was quoted in a story from the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. Across the state in St. Petersburg, columnist Robert Trigaux finds two economists who actually make a similar claim - that economists as a group agree on this issue.

"The number of economists not on the consulting payrolls of leagues, teams or chambers of commerce who think that (sports) stadiums provide net economic benefits for an area could fit comfortably into a phone booth or a Geo Metro," says University of Chicago economist Allen Sanderson.

Adds Clemson University economics professor Raymond Sauer: "Academic economists are in almost unanimous agreement that sports venues are not economic engines."

Sanderson goes on to say that "If citizens want to spend money on a sports facility - and don't rob the poor in the process - just because it would be fun, and with their financial eyes wide open in terms of it not being any catalyst for economic growth, then I have no problem with such a commitment." Wow- we agree again! Take that Mr. Right Honorable Lopez-Cantera!

That Marlins' stadium is pictured in the Sun-Sentinel story. It looks impressive, and no doubt would be a big improvement over their current digs. But that does not mean that citizens in Pensacola or Fort Myers are happy about sinking their tax dollars into it.