Jags teamed with Speedway in race for tax dollars

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Daytona International Speedway and Jacksonville Jaguars are now teammates in the Florida House.

But some legislators believe the cross-sport effort could hinder both proposals.

Members of the House Economic Affairs Committee on Tuesday narrowly supported by a 9-8 vote an amendment that latched a proposal that would provide $2 million a year in sales tax breaks for renovations at EverBank Field in Jacksonville to a similar measure to pay for improvements at the Daytona International Speedway (HB 1049).

Rep. David Santiago, R-Deltona, who sponsored the speedway proposal, argued against pairing the measures.

"Please don't hurt a good bill by moving on to it one that may not be moving in our House," Santiago said.

The bill must still go through the Appropriations Committee before reaching the House floor.

There are four stadium proposals seeking public dollars in the Legislature, plus a measure to increase funding for spring training stadiums.

The Miami Dolphins are seeking $3 million a year in sales tax rebates (SB 306) for Sun Life Stadium improvements, while Orlando is requesting $2 million a year for the construction of a stadium in Central Florida (HB 219) with a goal of attracting a Major League Soccer expansion franchise.

Jacksonville is seeking to make EverBank Field the first stadium in Florida to receive a second level of $2 million in sales tax rebates.

Each rebate would be for 30 years.

Backers of each proposal claim the money offers the prospect of construction and long-term jobs, along with increased local economic impact.

The Senate also has a proposal that would require the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to prepare an annual list of teams, spring training sites and professional sports seeking assistance from the state. That list would be ranked and then sent to the Legislature for a final vote.

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