Representative Doreen Costa (R- District 31, North Kingstown, Exeter) came out strong against any form of taxpayer subsidies in response to the PawSox owners proposal to build a ballpark on prime land left empty by the relocation of Interstate 195.
“This is corporate welfare at its best. Very well-healed owners want the taxpayers to foot the bill by forfeiting valuable land that should be utilized for creating jobs, jobs, jobs. We must work on our short attention spans – what happened to developing this area for innovation?” asked Rep. Costa.
Representative Costa continued, “I am very suspicious of Skeffington’s lease backed proposals. I can’t help but think about the lease arrangements that he concocted with the state for the Convention Center Authority. His creation resulted in an annual $25 million taxpayer subsidy that continues today. Yet, at the time that proposal was made, the state was told that the venture wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything. Here we are years later, with his ballpark proposal. It appears to result in, at minimum, an annual taxpayer subsidy of $4 million. There is no reason to believe that the costs proposed for this ballpark won’t balloon in years to come.”
To make matters worse, the PawSox proposal locks our capitol city out of property tax revenue for thirty years. Providence taxpayers cannot afford yet another business venture that does not pay its fair share of taxes. Too many people are struggling to keep up with the high costs of living in Providence. It is shameful to consider providing fabulous cost breaks and taxpayer subsidies to a group of people who are certainly capable of leveraging additional private investment among their wealthy social and professional circles. ”