Buckhorn seeks federal incentives for new Rays stadium construction

Hillsborough County
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The Tampa Rays are hoping to build their new stadium in Ybor City.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn sent a letter this week to Florida Governor Rick Scott, asking the area be designated as an economic opportunity zone.

The designation would allow some federal incentives to be used for stadium construction.

The incentives would offer tax credits that would allow investors in the stadium to receive a federal tax reduction.

“We want to realize the most benefit from these opportunity zone designations throughout the city and tract 39 has endless potential. This is a vital plot of land in connecting Ybor to downtown and will play a key role in making Tampa a seamless live, work, play city for families and visitors alike,” said Tampa City Spokesperson Ashley Bauman.

Not everyone is in favor of the idea.

Americans for Prosperity is a conservative group funded in part by the billionaire Koch brothers.

Friday, they released a statement saying the designation of Ybor City puts that area over the needs of the Oak Grove neighborhood in Tampa.

“AFP-FL believes that government should not pick winners and losers, and that subsidizing professional sports teams on the backs of hard working taxpayers amounts to corporate welfare. In the case of Tampa Mayor Buckhorn, he is picking winners and losers by calling on the federal government to allow him to dole out taxpayer resources through controversial economic opportunity zones for one community over the needs of Oak Grove,” the statement reads.

Travis Horn is a marketing specialist who works in Ybor. He is a supporter of the stadium and of the Republican party.

“I’d love to see something that’s not about party. I’d love to see us do a great big community project that we can get done on a bi-partisan basis,” said Horn.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson says he’s in favor of using economic opportunity zones to help run down areas.

“The tax dollars are for the purpose of economic development and particularly in distressed areas. So that’s up to the local communities and the local governments to make that decision,” said Nelson.

Follow Jeff Patterson on Facebook

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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