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Most county-board candidates indicate support for new Rays ballpark in Tampa

Tampa Bay RaysConsidering Florida’s extreme political climate, a surprising number of candidates for Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners indicated some level of government support for a new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark in Tampa.

Party affiliation didn’t seem to be a factor in how candidates responded to queries from 10 News on how they’d approach bringing the Rays to Tampa and what sort of public assistance would be appropriate. The most popular form of assistance, and one that has been mentioned in the past, is using an existing TIF district and putting that money, as well as hotel taxes, toward a downtown ballpark. Here‘s a typical response from the 10 News report:

In 2014, [Republican candidate Victor] Crist says “Hillsborough County should have a back-up plan in the event St. Petersburg and the Rays are unable to come to a satisfactory agreement” and although he doesn’t support any new taxes, he indicated existing revenues, such as a TIF district and brownfield tax credits could help bond stadium construction. He also called on the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council to help break the current stalemate.

With county elections coming up, you can expect plenty of talk about a new Rays ballpark: the issue has been quiet lately, but it’s getting obvious some sort of solution is needed. The trade of David Price for financial reasons may have been a very unpleasant reminder to Rays fans that at the end of the day that no matter how well the team drafts and developers, maintaining a competitive team will require some financial investments — investments the Rays aren’t in a position to make when drawing small crowds to the Trop.

RELATED STORIES: Time running out on key Rays funding component; New year, new day for new Rays ballpark?; Foster: MLB looking for reason to flee Tampa Bay; Residents: Let Rays buy out Trop lease, move to Tampa; Selig: No updates on Rays ballpark situation; Rays: We won’t buy out Trop lease on St. Pete’s terms; St. Pete mayor: Talks with Rays going poorly; Poll: little support for public funding of new Rays ballpark; Feeding frenzy begins on siting potential Rays ballpark; Selig: Time to resolve Tama Bay Rays ballpark situation; Negotiations begin: Tampa asks for at least $200M from Rays for new ballpark; Hillsborough County ready to talk new Rays ballpark; Sternberg: No plan to move Rays; Downtown tax for new Rays ballpark looking iffy; Sternberg: MLB doesn’t believe in Tampa Bay; Rays ballpark plan at Carillon Business Park withdrawn by developer; Study: New Rays ballpark shouldn’t require new taxes; Poll: St. Pete voters opposed to public financing of new ballpark; Foster: We won’t allow Rays to talk new ballpark in Tampa; Experts: St. Petersburg should worry about making Rays deal now, not damages down the road; St. Pete ratchets up legal threats over new Rays ballpark; Is a business park the best place for a Rays ballpark?


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