Early voters cast ballots on Sun Life Stadium deal

1,500 vote on raising hotel bed tax in Miami-Dade County

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - Early voters casted their ballots on the Sun Life Stadium deal.

About 1,500 people voted Monday on the issue of raising the hotel bed tax by 1 percent in mainland Miami-Dade County -- despite the bill having not passed the state legislature yet.

"Don't be swayed by all the naysayers saying this won't get out of Tallahassee," said Jorge Arrizurieta, the co-chairman of Miami First. "This will get out of Tallahassee."

The Florida Senate on Monday passed its version of the bill in a second reading. A local referendum will be held May 14 if the bill passes the legislature.

The Dolphins say Sun Life Stadium needs at least $350 million in improvements to remain competitive with newer stadiums around the NFL for Super Bowls and high-profile events. The team wants $289 million from a 1 percent increase in the hotel bed tax and $90 million from a sales tax rebate.

"It will improve the neighborhood and create jobs," said Joel Scott, who voted for the plan.

"I love the Dolphins. I support my Dolphins. I love football -- [but] we got burned with the Marlins, so no," said Nydia Orta.

"Save that money for something else," said Vontrice Dennis.

"Invest in creating, I would say, more opportunities when it comes to the children for them to have more resources," said Jessy Cross, who voted no.

"I feel like they're going to trick us into paying more money for the stadium," said Demonte Scott.

"He's saying the vacationers coming out would be doing most of the paying," said Melford Rollins.

"It's always something to drive you in but you have to weave in between false propaganda," said Al Thrower.

"I was really concerned that I was going to assume one thing and answer it incorrectly," said Angela Maloney.

The 30-year economic development grant includes a non-relocation agreement. The Dolphins have offered to pay the county and the state back the money it receives from a sales tax rebate of $3 million a year for 30 years.

The Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers, who will move into a new stadium next year, are vying for Super Bowl L in 2016. The loser will compete against the Houston Texans to host Super Bowl LI in 2017.

NFL team owners will announce the locations of Super Bowls L and LI on May 22 in Boston.

Click here to see the early voting schedule and locations.

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