Press Conference To Oppose Taxpayer Funded Stadium Tomorrow at 3:45 pm; Meanwhile, PawSox Graciously Offer to Buy the Land


As you may have heard, tomorrow at 4:00 pm, the Commerce Corporation (formerly the EDC) I195 Commission will meet to hear a proposal from the PawSox for locating a baseball stadium in Providence — and what they want from state and Providence taxpayers to do so.

Almost simultaneously, all of the organizations and individuals* opposing the PawSox proposal will be holding a press conference — right outside of the building where the Commerce Corporation I195 Commission will be meeting with the PawSox. In the event you are able, please stop by. It will kick off at around 3:45 pm. Below is the address of the Commerce Corporation, where the meeting will be taking place inside and the press conference opposing will be taking place outside.

315 Iron Horse Way
Providence, RI 02908

Helpful tip: should you need directions from Mapquest or Google, as I did, be sure to enter “555 Valley Street, Providence” instead.

So the latest development is that the PawSox have offered to purchase from the state the prime, waterfront land upon which they propose to build, largely if not exclusively at taxpayer expense, a baseball stadium.

They presumably still want $4 million/year from state taxpayers. (They have, remarkably and not very credibly, actually increased their estimate of offsetting tax revenue to the state from $2 million to $2.4 million/year. Let’s remember that, while the tax revenue from the stadium is a pure guess … er, projection, the $4 million/year from the taxpayers to the owners of the PawSox would be a firm obligation.) And they’d presumably still like to be relieved of the obligation to pay property taxes, an obligation that Providence Council President Aponte quickly tried to shift to state taxpayers.

Even WITH the PawSox offer to purchase the land, these constitute remarkably aggressive terms for a use whose seasonal nature prima facie limits its potential for economic activity.

In a way, the PawSox proposal is worse than 38 Studios. As WPRO’s John Loughlin pointed out, 38 Studios was a Hail Mary pass. But a Hail Mary pass has some chance, however remote, of succeeding. With this stadium, EVERYONE, including our elected officials, KNOWS UP FRONT that it would be a financial loser for taxpayers.

We all very much want the Pawtucket Red Sox to stay in Rhode Island, if not Pawtucket. But the price has turned out to be very high, indeed. No one has made a remotely rational case as to why, in the face of red budget ink as far as the eye can see, our elected officials, on behalf of state taxpayers, should take on yet another economic development loss leader like the Convention Center Authority.

We cannot easily divest ourselves of that $15 million/year net loss. But for heavens sake, we also don’t need to knowingly add another $2 – $4 million/year into that budget column.

* These include but are not limited to: The Coalition-Talk Radio (a shadowy group hell-bent on world dominat … no, wait, I’m thinking of Microsoft); the Progressive Democrats; the RIGOP; former G.A. candidate Ethan Gyles; Pat Ford aka “Pat from Cumberland”; Rep Doreen Costa; Senator James Sheehan; Jewelry District Association members (??? okey dokey); “active citizens Henry A. “Bud” Violet and Greg Gerritt; the Occupy Providence group”; and R.I. Taxpayers (see full disclosure below).

Monique Chartier is Communications Director of Rhode Island Taxpayers, a non-partisan taxpayer and business advocacy organization, and Editor of the R.I. Taxpayer Times.

  • ShannonEntropy

    No one has made a remotely rational case as to why, in the face of red budget ink as far as the eye can see, our elected officials, on behalf of state taxpayers, should take on yet another economic development loss leader like the Convention Center Authority.

    Why ?? Because the one who pays the piper calls the tune

    You can bet that a nice chunk of the $millions$ that are gonna flow to the Skeffington group are gonna find its way to the pockets of the pols who put the deal through

    To paraphrase Justin … in a State where you need to “know a guy” ,, Skeffington *IS* ‘The Guy’ ☺

  • Tommy Cranston

    39 Studios will, in modified form, be approved by the Democrats who run this state and next year the A-hole majority of the state will re-elect a 90% Democrat legislature.
    State’s motto should be changed to “Stay Stupid, Vote Democrat”.
    We deserve EVERYTHING we get.

    • ShannonEntropy

      I must admit that I am part of the problem … I live in Warwick in House District 19

      Our Rep, Joseph McNamara — who is also the State Democratic Committee chairman — hasn’t even had an opponent in the last three elections

      My Senator — Erin Lynch — hasn’t had an opponent in two of the last three elections, and she won in ’14 with 64% of the vote

      So what good would it do to register any opposition to the stadium deal with either of those two ??

      They are both gonna be in Skeffington’s pocket from Day One — if they aren’t already

      • Mike678

        “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

        • ShannonEntropy

          In the past I have written letters to both McNamara and Lynch. I did not even get a reply

          Now I don’t bother to waste my printer ink and the 49¢ for a stamp

          • Mike678

            E-mail is cheaper :). Then they can add your e-mail to their mailing list and annoy you directly!

          • ShannonEntropy

            Great idea !!

            With e·mail ,, they can ignore me immediately !!