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Stadium News

The bad news.

Denouncing a proposed deal for a Florida Marlins stadium in Miami as a gift to the rich, two state legislators Tuesday announced the filing of bills that would let voters decide whether to use tax dollars to build sports stadiums.

"When property taxes are soaring, schools are struggling to keep up, and violent crime is on the rise, voters should get to decide whether millionaire athletes and billionaire team owners deserve our tax dollars," said Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando. "If these billionaires were required to face the public, they might find other ways to finance their projects."

He was joined by Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, at a news conference on the Capitol steps to announce the proposed legislation.

The bill has been filed in both houses.  To top it all off the governor is willing to listen, if not sympathetic.

Bennett acknowledged Tuesday his bill has little hope of advancing this session, but he said Gov. Charlie Crist supports the referendum.

Asked why voters shouldn't have a say in such a big public subsidy, Crist said: "They do have a say. They have a say right now by who they elect." He said he wouldn't rule out a referendum.

As for Bennett's claim that Crist told him he would support the referendum requirement, Crist said: "I haven't had the chance to see the language of his bill, but I'm happy to do so."

Now, this would be a disturbing tale except for the fact that one of the bills must clear a certain committee.

The good news.

Bennett's bill has to pass through a committee run by Marlins' bill sponsor Sen. Rudy Garcia, a Miami Republican.

I've got money that bill never sees the light of day.  There is nothing like stacking the legislature.