Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) ramped up his fight against woke corporations on Thursday, this time vetoing the construction of a $35,000,000 Tampa Bay Rays practice facility. The veto comes after the Major League Baseball (MLB) team released a statement announcing their support for gun control and donated to gun control advocacy group, Everytown for Gun Safety.
The Rays said, in part, the following in a statement posted to Twitter on May 26:
This cannot become normal. We cannot become numb. We cannot look the other way. We all know, if nothing changes, nothing changes.
The Rays organization stands committed to actionable change and has made a $50,000 commitment to Everytown for Gun Safety’s Support Fund. Everytown is the largest gun violence prevention organization in America. Rather than our usual game coverage on social media tonight, we’ve partnered with Everytown to amplify facts about gun violence in America.
A week later, DeSantis approved a new state budget, but conspicuously omitted was the planned $35,000,000 in spending for a new Tampa Bay Rays practice facility.
DeSantis’ latest action is part of a greater series of battles taken up by the Florida governor against woke corporatism.
In May, DeSantis signed a bill set to revoke Disney’s privileged status under the Reedy Creek Improvement Act after the company entered the debate over a Florida parental rights law and professed to incorporating a “gay agenda” in their content.
Beyond giving conservatives a win in the culture war, DeSantis’s veto is a significant step toward fiscal responsibility. As has been shown time and time again, stadiums and sports facilities are a notoriously terrible investment of government funds, with dismal return-on-investment prospects even for local economies.
To this effect, DeSantis said to reporters on Friday, “I don’t support giving taxpayer dollars to sports stadiums, period.”
“Now, companies are free to engage or not engage with whatever discourse they want, but clearly, it’s inappropriate to be [spending] tax dollars for a professional sports stadium,” he added. “But it’s also inappropriate to subsidize political activism of a private corporation.”
Given the dearth of benefits in terms of economic stimulus, we ought to view these projects on the sole basis of whether they serve the public good through non-economic means.
I’ll concede that having nearby MLB facilities might be fun for Floridians, but this positive may be outweighed when the team in question steps off the political sidelines. The question we should be asking is whether teams should be rewarded with state money for moral grandstanding, especially when it is at the expense of the American people’s most basic constitutional rights.
DeSantis decided that activist corporations do not deserve taxpayer rewards – a bold statement and a winning strategy for conservatives in government.
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