Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 112290
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File Number: 112290 File Type: Resolution Status: Deferral Requested
Version: 0 Reference: Control: Board of County Commissioners
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action:
Agenda Date: 11/3/2011 Agenda Item Number: 11A6
Sponsors: Joe A. Martinez, Prime Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed

Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 11/3/2011 11A6 Deferred

County Mayor 10/31/2011 Deferrals 11/3/2011
REPORT: The Prime Sponsor has requested deferral to no date certain.

County Attorney 10/26/2011 Assigned Jess M. McCarty

Board of County Commissioners 10/18/2011 11A6 AMENDED Deferred 11/3/2011 P
REPORT: Chairman Martinez introduced the foregoing proposed resolution into the record. Chairman Martinez noted his proposed amendment to this resolution changing the number of Designation Resort Casinos from “one” to “two or more,” and advised that Commissioners Sosa, Heyman, and Barreiro asked to be added as co-sponsors. He noted he brought this item forth to consider issues other than job creation, including the County’s infrastructure and the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) funds. Chairman Martinez noted the casino distribution plans and the impact a 35 percent tax rate would have on the County’s existing pari-mutuels also needed to be considered. Commissioner Heyman expressed concern that this legislation was premature and cautioned against the County’s urging the Legislature regarding legislation before the final language was available. She noted the following issues needed to be considered: cost control protection for existing businesses, local controls, tax revenues from existing pari-mutuels, and what percentage of gaming commissions would come from South Florida. Commissioner Heyman stated she would vote against this resolution and listed several areas of concern that could impact local businesses. Commissioner Barreiro recalled that he previously filed a bill with the State Legislature urging gaming in Florida, and noted his position that a statewide referendum was not needed. He noted his request to the County Attorney to insert language that would ensure the local pari-mutuels were treated equally to the Resort Casinos with respect to tax rates, games permitted, and other related issues. Commissioner Sosa noted she commended Chairman Martinez for bringing this discussion item forward today; however, she expressed concern that it was premature. She requested this resolution be amended to insert an additional WHEREAS clause that read: “…WHEREAS, in Miami-Dade County, pari-mutuels have been longtime employers and have invested millions to build their business operations in over a decade of investments…” and to insert in the NOW, THEREFORE clause, Section 1, after “County” the following language: “…with the opportunity to existing pari-mutuels to operate with the same taxes and games currently operated…” Chairman Martinez noted he accepted Commissioner Sosa’s amendment; however, he pointed out that this language was already in the resolution. Commissioner Diaz expressed appreciation to Chairman Martinez; however, he expressed doubt that the Legislature would not pass this legislation in Tallahassee. He suggested deferral of this item pending the availability of more information from the State Legislature. Chairman Martinez suggested that Commissioner Sosa, as Chair of the Economic Development and Social Services Committee (EDSS), invite the pari-mutuel owners; Miami Beach Convention Center representatives; Mr. Jeffrey Soffer, Turnberry Associates; and other stakeholders to express their opinions before this Commission. Commissioner Moss noted he would like representatives of the Genting Group to make a presentation before the County Commission on their plans and what the potential impact to this County would be. He cautioned his colleagues against letting a lucrative opportunity slip away as had happened when Disney World wanted to locate its operations in this County. Commissioner Monestime noted he concurred with his colleagues’ concerns regarding what percentage of revenue generated would impact the County’s tax base. He expressed concern that this proposed legislation was premature and should be deferred pending the outcome of the Florida Legislature’s bill. Commissioner Jordan expressed her desire for more information regarding how gaming impacted the residents of Atlantic City and Las Vegas, and whether industry in surrounding communities experienced growth. She noted the huge difference between Disney World and gaming and inquired about the long-term effects would be to the community from gaming. She expressed her support for the revenues from gaming being used Countywide. Commissioner Bell echoed Commissioners Heyman’s and Jordan’s concerns and questioned the level of impact to the perimeter of the gaming community and how it would affect the quality of life for County residents. She noted she was not in favor of gaming and that she would not support this legislation at this time. Commissioner Souto pointed out that this County needed to be shown respect by the State Legislature and should make its position clear. He cautioned his colleagues that entities from other countries were bringing this issue to the County and he wanted to know what the County was getting with this proposal. Commissioner Souto stated this issue was moving too swiftly and reiterated Commissioner Moss’ request for the Genting Group representatives to present their proposal before the County Commission. He noted this matter could be very good or very bad, but that the Commission should not rush into a decision. Chairman Martinez reiterated his comment that this item was before the Board for discussion and would be heard before the Economic Development and Social Services Committee next week. He noted that everyone who would be affected by this proposed issue would be invited to that meeting. Commissioner Bovo noted the possibility that more than two or three gaming facilities would be needed to offset property taxes and that if this proposal was approved, the State would receive a large portion of the proceeds. He suggested that the time for the Commission to confront this issue with respect to funding sources, was when the Legislature requested approval for the authorized venue. He noted his position was that a higher than 3 percent property tax should be requested from the state. Commissioner Sosa emphasized the importance of the County Commission looking out for the residents of this County, commenting on property taxes being the biggest problem in Miami-Dade County and the need to find investors and build infrastructure. She stated she would support anything that improved the quality of life for the residents of this County. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez noted the County needed to obtain “local control” from the State’s legislation ensuring that no entity would be licensed without Miami-Dade County’s approval. He noted if the County Commission supported this concept, that they also support reduction of illegal gaming in this County and across the State, including Internet Cafes and illegal gaming machines. Pertaining to the property tax issue, Mayor Gimenez advised that discussions with the City of Miami resulted in agreement to do parallel tracks consisting of a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and a separate track for the Destination Resort Casinos, if approved. He agreed with Chairman Martinez on the need for infrastructure, additional mass transit, and consideration of the Miami Beach Convention Center. Mayor Gimenez noted his request that Deputy Mayor Jack Osterholt to reach out to entities throughout the country that had dealt with gaming to help avoid pitfalls. He noted the importance of having local control and of including the things the County desired in the legislation up front. Mayor Gimenez noted although taxes was important, jobs was a more important issue and this legislation could create thousands of jobs. Commissioner Jordan noted this could be a tremendous boom for the community; however, she noted it could also destroy a community such as Overtown. She noted the School Board was considering selling that facility due to the proximity and value of the land. Commissioner Jordan pointed out that Overtown was destroyed when the I-95 expressway was constructed right through the community, noting this would decimate it. There being no further questions or comments, the Board proceeded to vote on the motion to defer. The Board deferred the foregoing proposed resolution to the November 3, 2011 BCC meeting as amended to change the number of destination resort casinos to be authorized to "two or more" rather than " one to two."

Legislative Text


WHEREAS, destination resort that include casinos (“destination resort casinos”) would result in a multi-billion dollar investment into Florida's economy and would provide thousands of construction jobs as well as permanent, high-paying jobs; and
WHEREAS, these projects would put Florida residents back to work and provide a much-needed jolt to the local economy; and
WHEREAS, the people of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties have twice expressed their support for Class 3, Las Vegas-style gaming, by way of a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment and local referenda; and
WHEREAS, destination resort casinos would enhance Florida's position as a leading location for conventions, especially in South Florida, and would make South Florida an even more attractive place for conventions to be held; and
WHEREAS, Miami-Dade County is already a strong magnet for international tourism, and destination resort casinos offers the potential to only further enhance international tourism here; and
WHEREAS, gaming tourists currently travel to Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Biloxi, Mississippi, the Bahamas and the rest of the Caribbean; and
WHEREAS, destination resort casinos would attract such gaming tourists to Miami-Dade County; and
WHEREAS, destination resort casinos would benefit hotels, restaurants and all aspects of the tourism industry; and
WHEREAS, destination resort casinos also could keep Florida gaming dollars in Florida, and provide venues here for Florida gamblers that currently travel to Las Vegas and other gaming destinations; and
WHEREAS, destination resort casinos have helped to propel the economies of a number of metropolitan areas around the world, such as Singapore, by adding tens of thousands of jobs; and
WHEREAS, destination resort casinos would not promote a Las Vegas style strip in Miami-Dade County because the gaming component would not be the focal point of the destination resort; and
WHEREAS, destination resort gaming would be strictly limited and highly regulated and required to mitigate local impacts to their operation; and
WHEREAS, with both pari-mutuel and Indian slot machines and gaming already in place, casino gambling is and has been present in South Florida for a number of years now; and
WHEREAS, destination resort casinos promise jobs and economic development that our community desperately needs at this time; and
WHEREAS, destination resort casinos also promise increased government revenue that can be used to reduce Countywide property taxes; and
WHEREAS, legislation was filed in Rhode Island, for example, that would have placed a question on the statewide ballot to expand casino gaming to two additional sites and use net casino gaming revenue for the sole purpose of reducing the property tax burden on the people of Rhode Island, H 6350 (2005 session); and
WHEREAS, in Nevada, casino gaming revenue makes up nearly half of the state’s entire tax revenue, which is generated in large part by tourists visiting Las Vegas and other Nevada gaming destinations from other states; and
WHEREAS, casino gaming in Nevada has substantially reduced the tax burden on Nevada residents; and
WHEREAS, on a smaller scale than in Nevada, Florida residents also can shift some of their tax burden to tourists by using revenues from casino gaming for the sole purpose of reducing the property tax burden; and
WHEREAS, it is important to recognize that in Miami-Dade County, pari-mutuels have been longtime employers providing jobs to many people and have invested millions of dollars to build their business operations over decades; and
WHEREAS, as such, existing pari-mutuels should receive due consideration in any legislation related to destination resort casinos,
Section 1. Urges the Florida Legislature to authorize two or more destination resort casinos in Miami-Dade County with revenues generated to be used to reduce countywide property taxes, and with pari-mutuels that have authority to have slot machines receiving parity with destination resort casinos in terms of taxation rates and games that can be offered.
Section 2. Directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit certified copies of the resolution to the Governor, the Senate President, the House Speaker, and the Chair and Members of the Miami-Dade State Legislative Delegation.
Section 3. Directs the County’s state lobbyists to advocate for the issue identified in Section 1 above, and authorizes and directs the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to include this item in the 2012 and 2013 state legislative packages.

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