Not everyone here in Tampa Bay is convinced that buying a new stadium for a local rich guy makes much sense, and now it appears Canadians also aren’t too keen on footing the bill for a partially-used baseball stadium for the Rays.
This morning, a Canadian nonprofit unveiled a new billboard along I-275, right next to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg reading: “Dear Rays, Montréal won’t pay for your new stadium. Sincerely, Taxpayers.”
The group behind the billboard, The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said the plan to have two new Rays stadiums (one in Montreal and another possibly in Tampa) is "a poor use of taxpayers’ money."
“The Rays are welcome to play in Montreal, but Quebec taxpayers aren’t going to pay for a new stadium,” said Renaud Brossard, Quebec Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in a statement. “Quebec’s economic recovery is fragile, our health-care system is struggling and this is the most heavily taxed jurisdiction in North America. Quebec taxpayers can’t pay for another stadium for a part-time baseball team.”
Canadian businessman Stephen Bronfman is currently in talks with Sternberg for the team to play half the season in Montreal and has already registered to lobby the local government of Quebec in order to get a subsidy for the project. Meanwhile, here in Tampa, Ybor City developer and Tampa Bay Times investor Darryl Shaw is hoping for a publicly subsidized stadium in his new Gas Worx development.
“The Rays need to know we don’t have hundreds of millions of bucks lying around,” said Brossard. “Here’s the reality: A new ballpark ranks way below fixing roads, supporting hospitals and reducing the heavy tax burden on struggling families.”
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