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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XIX
PUBLIC BUSINESS
Chapter 288
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
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F.S. 288.11625
288.11625 Sports development.
(1) ADMINISTRATION.The department shall serve as the state agency responsible for screening applicants for state funding under s. 212.20(6)(d)6.f.
(2) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Agreement” means a signed agreement between a unit of local government and a beneficiary.
(b) “Applicant” means a unit of local government, as defined in s. 218.369, which is responsible for the construction, management, or operation of a facility; or an entity that is responsible for the construction, management, or operation of a facility if a unit of local government holds title to the underlying property on which the facility is located.
(c) “Beneficiary” means a professional sports franchise of the National Football League, the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association, the National League or American League of Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the North American Soccer League, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the promoter or host of a signature event administered by Breeders’ Cup Limited, or the promoter of a signature event sanctioned by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. A beneficiary may also be an applicant under this section. However, a professional sports franchise of the National League or the American League of Major League Baseball or Minor League Baseball may not be a beneficiary unless, before filing an application under subsection (3):
1. Major League Baseball verifies to the Attorney General that any Cuban refugee 17 years of age or older who has been present in the United States for less than 1 year and who was not present before the most recent Major League Baseball Rule 4 Draft of amateur players may contract as a free agent under rules no less favorable than the most favorable rules applicable to players who are residents of any country or territory other than the United States, Puerto Rico, or Canada; and
2. The Attorney General verifies that Major League Baseball has agreed to report to the Attorney General the identity of, and a description of the activity giving rise to the identification of, any resident of this state or other person operating in this state who Major League Baseball has reason to believe has engaged in:
a. Human smuggling, human trafficking, or the movement of individuals across national boundaries for purposes of evading Major League Baseball rules applicable to residents of the United States; or
b. Contracting with nondrafted players for an interest in a player’s professional baseball compensation or other consideration in exchange for human trafficking, assistance in human smuggling, or avoidance of Major League Baseball rules.
(d) “Commence” or “commenced” means the occurrence of a physical activity on the project site which is related to the construction, reconstruction, renovation, or improvement of the project site.
(e) “Facility” means a structure, and its adjoining parcels of local-government-owned land, primarily used to host games or events held by a beneficiary and does not include any portion used to provide transient lodging.
(f) “Project” means a proposed construction, reconstruction, renovation, or improvement of a facility or the proposed acquisition of land to construct a new facility and construction of improvements to state-owned land necessary for the efficient use of the facility.
(g) “Signature event” means a professional sports event with significant export factor potential. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “export factor” means the attraction of economic activity or growth into the state which otherwise would not have occurred. Examples of signature events may include, but are not limited to:
1. National Football League Super Bowls.
2. Professional sports All-Star games.
3. International sporting events and tournaments.
4. Professional motorsports events.
5. The establishment of a new professional sports franchise in this state.
(h) “State sales taxes generated by sales at the facility” means state sales taxes imposed under chapter 212 and generated by admissions to the facility; parking on property owned or controlled by the beneficiary or the applicant; team operations and necessary leases; sales by the beneficiary; sales by other vendors at the facility; and ancillary uses within 1,000 feet, including, but not limited to, team stores, museums, restaurants, retail, lodging, and commercial uses from economic development generated by the beneficiary or facility as determined by the Department of Economic Opportunity.
(3) PURPOSE.The purpose of this section is to provide applicants state funding under s. 212.20(6)(d)6.f. for the public purpose of constructing, reconstructing, renovating, or improving a facility.
(4) APPLICATION AND APPROVAL PROCESS.
(a) The department shall establish the procedures and application forms deemed necessary pursuant to the requirements of this section. The department may notify an applicant of any additional required or incomplete information necessary to evaluate an application.
(b) The annual application period is from June 1 through November 1.
(c) Within 60 days after receipt of a completed application, the department shall complete its evaluation of the application as provided under subsection (5) and notify the applicant in writing of the department’s decision to recommend approval of the applicant by the Legislature or to deny the application.
(d) By each February 1, the department shall rank the applicants and provide to the Legislature the list of the recommended applicants in ranked order of projects most likely to positively impact the state based on criteria established under this section. The list must include the department’s evaluation of the applicant.
(e) A recommended applicant’s request for funding must be approved by the Legislature, enacted by a general law or conforming bill approved by the Governor in the manner provided in s. 8, Art. III of the State Constitution. After enactment, the department must certify an applicant and its approved request for funding. The approved request for funding must be certified as an annual distribution amount, and the department must notify the Department of Revenue of the initial certification and the distribution amount.
1. An application by a unit of local government which is approved by the Legislature and subsequently certified by the department remains certified for the duration of the beneficiary’s agreement with the applicant or for 30 years, whichever is less, provided the certified applicant has an agreement with a beneficiary at the time of initial certification by the department.
2. An application by a beneficiary or other applicant which is approved by the Legislature and subsequently certified by the department remains certified for the duration of the beneficiary’s agreement with the unit of local government that owns the underlying property or for 30 years, whichever is less, provided the certified applicant has an agreement with the unit of local government at the time of initial certification by the department.
3. An applicant that is previously certified pursuant to this section does not need legislative approval each year to receive state funding.
(f) An applicant that is recommended by the department but not approved by the Legislature may reapply and shall update any information in the original application as required by the department.
(g) The department may recommend no more than one distribution under this section for any applicant, facility, or beneficiary at a time. A facility or beneficiary may not be the subject of more than one distribution under s. 212.20 at any time for any state-administered sports-related program, including s. 288.1162, s. 288.11621, s. 288.11631, or this section. This limitation does not apply if the applicant demonstrates that the beneficiary that is the subject of the distribution under s. 212.20 no longer plays at the facility that is the subject of the application under this section.
(h) An application submitted either by a first-time applicant whose project exceeds $300 million and commenced on the facility’s existing site before January 1, 2014, or by a beneficiary that has completed the terms of a previous agreement for distributions under chapter 212 for an existing facility shall be considered an application for a new facility for purposes that include, but are not limited to, incremental and baseline tax calculations.
(i) An application may be submitted to the department for evaluation and recommendation if the existing beneficiary has completed or will complete the terms of an existing distribution under chapter 212 for an existing facility before a distribution can be made.
(5) EVALUATION PROCESS.
(a) Before recommending an applicant to receive a state distribution under s. 212.20(6)(d)6.f., the department must verify that:
1. The applicant or beneficiary is responsible for the construction, reconstruction, renovation, or improvement of a facility and obtained at least three bids for the project.
2. If the applicant is not a unit of local government, a unit of local government holds title to the property on which the facility and project are, or will be, located.
3. If the applicant is a unit of local government in whose jurisdiction the facility is, or will be, located, the unit of local government has an exclusive intent agreement to negotiate in this state with the beneficiary.
4. A unit of local government in whose jurisdiction the facility is, or will be, located supports the application for state funds. Such support must be verified by the adoption of a resolution, after a public hearing, that the project serves a public purpose.
5. The applicant or beneficiary has not previously defaulted or failed to meet any statutory requirements of a previous state-administered sports-related program under s. 288.1162, s. 288.11621, s. 288.11631, or this section. Additionally, the applicant or beneficiary is not currently receiving state distributions under s. 212.20 for the facility that is the subject of the application, unless the applicant demonstrates that the franchise that applied for a distribution under s. 212.20 no longer plays at the facility that is the subject of the application.
6. The applicant or beneficiary has sufficiently demonstrated a commitment to employ residents of this state, contract with Florida-based firms, and purchase locally available building materials to the greatest extent possible.
7. If the applicant is a unit of local government, the applicant has a certified copy of a signed agreement with a beneficiary for the use of the facility. If the applicant is a beneficiary, the beneficiary must enter into an agreement with the department. The applicant’s or beneficiary’s agreement must also require the following:
a. The beneficiary must reimburse the state for state funds that will be distributed if the beneficiary relocates or no longer occupies or uses the facility as the facility’s primary tenant before the agreement expires. Reimbursements must be sent to the Department of Revenue for deposit into the General Revenue Fund.
b. The beneficiary must pay for signage or advertising within the facility. The signage or advertising must be placed in a prominent location as close to the field of play or competition as is practicable, must be displayed consistent with signage or advertising in the same location and of like value, and must feature Florida advertising approved by the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation.
8. The project will commence within 12 months after receiving state funds or did not commence before January 1, 2013.
(b) The department shall competitively evaluate and rank applicants that timely submit applications for state funding based on their ability to positively impact the state using the following criteria:
1. The proposed use of state funds.
2. The length of time that a beneficiary has agreed to use the facility.
3. The percentage of total project funds provided by the applicant and the percentage of total project funds provided by the beneficiary, with priority in the evaluation and ranking given to applications with 50 percent or more of total project funds provided by the applicant and beneficiary.
4. The number and type of signature events the facility is likely to attract during the duration of the agreement with the beneficiary.
5. The anticipated increase in average annual ticket sales and attendance at the facility due to the project.
6. The potential to attract out-of-state visitors to the facility.
7. The length of time a beneficiary has been in this state or partnered with the unit of local government. In order to encourage new franchises to locate in this state, an application for a new franchise shall be considered to have a significant positive impact on the state and shall be given priority in the evaluation and ranking by the department.
8. The multiuse capabilities of the facility.
9. The facility’s projected employment of residents of this state, contracts with Florida-based firms, and purchases of locally available building materials.
10. The amount of private and local financial or in-kind contributions to the project.
11. The amount of positive advertising or media coverage the facility generates.
12. The expected amount of average annual new incremental state sales taxes generated by sales at the facility above the baseline that will be generated as a result of the project, as required under subparagraph (6)(b)2.
13. The size and scope of the project and number of temporary and permanent jobs that will be created as a direct result of the facility improvement.
(6) DISTRIBUTION.
(a) The department shall determine the annual distribution amount an applicant may receive based on 75 percent of the average annual new incremental state sales taxes generated by sales at the facility, as provided under subparagraph (b)2., and such annual distribution shall be limited by the following:
1. If the total project cost is $200 million or greater, the annual distribution amount may be up to $3 million.
2. If the total project cost is at least $100 million but less than $200 million, the annual distribution amount may be up to $2 million.
3. If the total project cost is less than $100 million and more than $30 million, the annual distribution amount may be up to $1 million.
4. Notwithstanding paragraph (4)(g) and subparagraph (5)(a)5., an applicant certified under s. 288.1162 which is currently receiving state distributions under s. 212.20 for the facility or beneficiary that is the subject of the application under this section may be eligible for an annual distribution amount of up to $1 million. The total project cost must be at least $100 million. This subparagraph does not apply to an applicant that demonstrates that the beneficiary that is the subject of the distribution under s. 212.20 no longer plays at the facility that is the subject of the application under this section.
(b) At the time of initial evaluation and review by the department pursuant to subsection (5), the applicant must provide an analysis by an independent certified public accountant which demonstrates:
1. The average annual amount of state sales taxes generated by sales at the facility during the 36-month period immediately before the beginning of the application period. This amount is the baseline.
2. The expected amount of average annual new incremental state sales taxes generated by sales at the facility above the baseline which will be generated as a result of the project.
3. The expected amount of average annual new incremental state sales taxes generated by sales at the facility must be at least $500,000 above the baseline for the applicant to be eligible to receive a distribution under this section.

For an application for a new facility, the baseline is zero. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, for projects with a total cost of more than $300 million which are at least 90 percent funded by private sources, the baseline is zero for purposes of this section. The baseline for an applicant under subparagraph (a)4. is $2 million.

(c) The independent analysis provided in paragraph (b) shall be verified by the department.
(d) The department shall notify the Department of Revenue of the applicant’s initial certification, and the Department of Revenue shall begin distributions within 45 days after such notification or upon a date specified by the department as requested by the approved applicant, whichever is later.
(e) The department shall consult with the Department of Revenue and the Office of Economic and Demographic Research to develop a standard calculation for estimating the average annual new incremental state sales taxes generated by sales at the facility.
(f) The department may not certify an applicant if, as a result of the certification, the total amount distributed will exceed $13 million in any fiscal year. In the 2014-2015 fiscal year, the department may not certify total annual distributions of more than $7 million for all certified applicants.
(7) CONTRACT.An applicant approved by the Legislature and certified by the department must enter into a contract with the department which:
(a) Specifies the terms of the state’s investment.
(b) States the criteria that the certified applicant must meet in order to remain certified.
(c) Requires the applicant to submit the independent analysis required under subsection (6) and an annual independent analysis.
1. The applicant must agree to submit to the department, beginning 12 months after completion of a project or 12 months after the first four annual distributions, whichever is earlier, an annual analysis by an independent certified public accountant demonstrating the actual amount of new incremental state sales taxes generated by sales at the facility during the previous 12-month period. The applicant shall certify to the department a comparison of the actual amount of state sales taxes generated by sales at the facility during the previous 12-month period to the baseline under paragraph (6)(b).
2. The applicant must submit the certification within 90 days after the end of the previous 12-month period. The department shall verify the analysis.
(d) Specifies information that the certified applicant must report to the department.
(e) Requires the applicant to reimburse the state by electing to do one of the following:
1. After all distributions have been made, reimburse at the end of the contract term any amount by which the total distributions made under s. 212.20(6)(d)6.f. exceed actual new incremental state sales taxes generated by sales at the facility during the contract, plus a 5 percent penalty on that amount.
2. After the applicant begins to submit the independent analysis under paragraph (c), reimburse each year any amount by which the previous year’s annual distribution exceeds 75 percent of the actual new incremental state sales taxes generated by sales at the facility.

Any reimbursement due to the state must be made within 90 days after the applicable distribution under this paragraph. If the applicant is unable or unwilling to reimburse the state for such amount, the department may place a lien on the applicant’s facility. If the applicant is a municipality or county, it may reimburse the state from its half-cent sales tax allocation, as provided in s. 218.64(3). Reimbursements must be sent to the Department of Revenue for deposit into the General Revenue Fund.

(f) Includes any provisions deemed prudent by the department.
(8) USE OF FUNDS.An applicant certified under this section may use state funds only for the following purposes:
(a) Constructing, reconstructing, renovating, or improving a facility or reimbursing such costs.
(b) Paying or pledging for the payment of debt service on bonds issued for the construction or renovation of such facility.
(c) Funding debt service reserve funds, arbitrage rebate obligations, or other amounts payable with respect thereto on bonds issued for the construction or renovation of such facility.
(d) Reimbursing the costs under paragraphs (b) and (c) or the refinancing of bonds issued for the construction or renovation of such facility.
(9) REPORTS.
(a) On or before November 1 of each year, an applicant certified under this section and approved to receive state funds must submit to the department any information required by the department. The department shall summarize this information for inclusion in its annual report to the Legislature under paragraph (4)(d).
(b) Every 5 years after an applicant receives its first monthly distribution, the department must verify that the applicant is meeting the program requirements. If the applicant fails to meet these requirements, the department shall notify the Governor and the Legislature in its next annual report under paragraph (4)(d) that the requirements are not being met and recommend future action. The department shall take into consideration extenuating circumstances that may have prevented the applicant from meeting the program requirements, such as force majeure events or a significant economic downturn.
(10) AUDITS.The Auditor General may conduct audits pursuant to s. 11.45 to verify the independent analysis required under paragraphs (6)(b) and (7)(c) and to verify that the distributions are expended as required. The Auditor General shall report the findings to the department. If the Auditor General determines that the distribution payments are not expended as required, the Auditor General must notify the Department of Revenue, which may pursue recovery of distributions under the laws and rules that govern the assessment of taxes.
(11) APPLICATION RELATED TO NEW FACILITIES OR PROJECTS COMMENCED BEFORE JULY 1, 2014.Notwithstanding paragraph (4)(e), the Legislative Budget Commission may approve an application for state funds by an applicant for a new facility or a project commenced between March 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014. Such an application may be submitted after May 1, 2014. The department must review the application and recommend approval to the Legislature or deny the application. The Legislative Budget Commission may approve applications on or after January 1, 2015. The department must certify the applicant within 45 days of approval by the Legislative Budget Commission. State funds may not be distributed until the department notifies the Department of Revenue that the applicant was approved by the Legislative Budget Commission and certified by the department. An applicant certified under this subsection is subject to the provisions and requirements of this section. An applicant that fails to meet the conditions of this subsection may reapply during future application periods.
(12) REPAYMENT OF DISTRIBUTIONS.An applicant that is certified under this section may be subject to repayment of distributions upon the occurrence of any of the following:
(a) An applicant’s beneficiary has broken the terms of its agreement with the applicant and relocated from the facility or no longer occupies or uses the facility as the facility’s primary tenant. The beneficiary must reimburse the state for state funds that will be distributed, plus a 5 percent penalty on that amount, if the beneficiary relocates before the agreement expires.
(b) A determination by the department that an applicant has submitted information or made a representation that is determined to be false, misleading, deceptive, or otherwise untrue. The applicant must reimburse the state for state funds that have been and will be distributed, plus a 5 percent penalty on that amount, if such determination is made. If the applicant is a municipality or county, it may reimburse the state from its half-cent sales tax allocation, as provided in s. 218.64(3).
(c) Repayment of distributions must be sent to the Department of Revenue for deposit into the General Revenue Fund.
(13) HALTING OF PAYMENTS.The applicant may request in writing at least 20 days before the next monthly distribution that the department halt future payments. The department shall immediately notify the Department of Revenue to halt future payments.
(14) RULEMAKING.The department may adopt rules to implement this section.
History.s. 4, ch. 2014-167.