In what can only be described as a deplorable but epically familiar last-minute backroom deal all too typical in Rhode Island politics for three-quarters of a century, Democrat House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello appears to have reversed his position on the Pawtucket Red Sox stadium, and now supports the taxpayer-funded plan, the financial details of which are speculative and expensive.
“Speaker Mattiello is attempting to commit Rhode Island to the same failed behavior that has been at the root of Rhode Island’s economic problems for generations,” said Pat Ford, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Rhode Island. “Subsidizing and buttressing private business – often at the expense of taxpayers competing for the same consumer dollars – has brought our economy to the brink of collapse.”
Questions about the economic feasibility of the latest Pawtucket Red Sox scheme remain unanswered, including how moving an existing business eight-tenths of a mile up the road within city limits will miraculously spur unprecedented economic development.
“There is absolutely no proof that any ancillary development will occur as a result of the stadium construction,” Mr. Ford said. “Absent building permits, cranes in the sky, and shovels in the ground, the city’s wishful prognostications are as reliable as a storefront palm reader’s.”
Reports that the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency will be the government entity to issue the bonds to finance the stadium’s construction begs the question: unless the PRA has a source of income no one knows about, where will the money come from to pay off the bonds?
“The only way this new stadium deal will be no risk to taxpayers is for the wealthy team owners to self-fund their personal project,” Ford stated. Citing one of the multi-millionaire team owners as an example, Ford pointed to Terry Murray, the retired president of Fleet Bank and the architect of some of the most significant bank mergers in generations. “He is certainly capable of securing capital to finance his team’s stadium. Why hasn’t he?”