Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The Miami Herald reports this morning that Miami-Dade County's revenue from hotel taxes fell 22 percent in January, after falling 11 percent in December. The county plans to use hotel-tax revenue to pay for its portion of the funding for the new Marlins stadium, and the Herald says that declining revenues could cause a problem when the county commission meets to vote on the stadium financing plan in a few weeks.
County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez, who has criticized the funding plan, thinks the county should wait to approve funding when revenues are increasing. County Commissioner George Burgess, who negotiated the stadium deal with the Marlins, argues that since the stadium will be financed over 40 years, it makes little sense to "pull the plug on something if it makes sense in the long term, because things look bad in the short term.''
No one ever said building a new Marlins ballpark would be easy... perhaps Miami-Dade should look to new potential revenue streams, like taxing coffee at the cafeteria windows in South Florida. You can buy enogh coffee for four people for less than $2 at these windows, but the average cafeteria customer (according to my arbitrary estimate) spends about $20 a week at the window (if I still lived in Miami, I could easily see myself spending that much per week between cafecito and pastelitos). Add a 0.5% surcharge to coffee purchases, at an annual rate the county could take in revenues of $2 trillion per year (this is a conservative estimate - South Floridians love cafecito.). Let's make this happen, Messrs. Burgess and Gimenez.
Image via marlinsnewballpark.com