On Tuesday, Rhode Island Speaker of the House, Nicholas Mattiello, announced a new plan for a taxpayer funded PawSox stadium. The new idea is for the City of Pawtucket, through its redevelopment agency, to back-stop the bonds for a new PawSox stadium.
Mattiello’s proposal is similar to Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien’s “Plan B,” which was for Pawtucket to build a new stadium on its own, but with state tax revenues. At the time, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio did not view Grebien’s plan as “a viable alternative” because of the higher borrowing costs.
Earlier in the fall, Speaker Mattiello expressed his concern to the Providence Journal.
“If Pawtucket has a problem paying back these bonds, it’s going to be a state problem in the future, Mattiello said in 2017. "If it’s such a great deal, perhaps a lot of the back-stop should come from the PawSox and the owners of the PawSox to take the risk away from the taxpayers.”
Republican Party Chairman Brandon S. Bell commented on the new plan, describing it as a bailout for Pawtucket.
“Mattiello’s new PawSox deal is just a new version of Grebien’s Plan B. I think the “B” stands for bail-out. When the City of Pawtucket proves incapable of finding the money to pay for the stadium bonds, it will turn to the State of Rhode Island to bail it out. The City of Pawtucket already has a high level of debt and pension liabilities," said Bell.
"The Senate Finance Committee was told that it could take ten years before any development near a new ballpark could generate enough money to cover the city’s bonds. The new proposal will make the situation worse for Pawtucket by increasing the borrowing costs of the bonds. Even if the State of Rhode Island does not back-stop the stadium bonds now, it will end up bailing out Pawtucket in the future when it lacks the funds to pay for these bonds. Speaker Mattiello should have listened to his constituents rather than Grebien and PawSox lobbyist Guy Dufault. These two gentlemen won’t be able to bail out Mattiello come election day," added Bell.
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