Related chaiman faces off with foreign banks over stadium renovation

Stephen Ross, Sun Life Stadium and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez
Stephen Ross, Sun Life Stadium and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez

Related chairman and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has made headway in Tallahassee with his controversial plan to renovate Sun Life Stadium. But, according to the Miami Herald, the tax exemption bill he supports — which would allow the Dolphins to split the cost of renovating the stadium with the taxpayers — has him facing off with international bankers.

The Senate version of the Dolphins’ bill was amended this week to eliminate a tax break for foreign banks in Florida in order to bankroll the new stadium subsidy. Critics of the amendment warn that if the bill passes, some of the estimated $6 billion in foreign deposits located in Miami could move elsewhere.

“Banks can easily move,’’ to states that have the tax break, including Georgia and New York, Anthony DiMarco, the top lobbyist for the Florida Bankers Association, told the Herald. “They’re paying employees down there that are making good money. [The business] probably will be moving out of Miami.”

However, as a major financial hub for Latin America, Miami will likely remain an attractive spot for foreign banking, tax break or not.

“This exemption, quite frankly… has outlived its usefulness,’’ said the amendment’s sponsor, Sen. Dorothy Hukill, a Republican representing Volusia County.

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The stadium bill allots the team $3 million a year in state funds and raises Miami-Dade’s mainland hotel tax 1 percent, providing that county voters approve the hike in a referendum.