Revamped PawSox Stadium Bill Introduced At The General Assembly

Jun 27, 2017

Senate Finance Chairman Conley explains his revised PawSox bill.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Senate Finance Chairman William Conley (D-East Providence) said Tuesday that a newly introduced PawSox stadium bill reduces potential liability for taxpayers by using state aid to Pawtucket as a backstop for borrowing, if the envisioned stadium produces less revenue than expected.

During a Statehouse news conference, Conley said Pawtucket's share of state aid (excluding education aid) is more than enough to make up the difference if revenue falls short of what's needed to pay back the city's borrowing for the stadium.

Channeling Pawtucket's roughly $15 million in borrowing through the state will save millions in interest, Conley added, since the state has a better credit rating than Pawtucket.

Conley ruled out the possibility that the revamped stadium plan will be considered in the close of the current General Assembly session, which may conclude later this week.

Rather, he said, House and Senate Finance committees plan to hold detailed hearings in the fall to vet the revamped stadium plan. Conley said it's unclear when the proposal may get consideration by the full House and Senate.

“The bottom line, the driving force behind that will be to make sure it’s done in a way that it is fully, publicly, transparently vetted," he said, "and until we feel completely satisfied that that’s done, it won’t go forward.” 

Critics point to the wealth of the PawSox ownership in questioning whether the state and Pawtucket should be involved in financing a new stadium for the baseball team. Conley said that's a good question to consider during the fall hearings.

The PawSox stadium plan appeared dead after State Senate President Dominick Ruggerio said there was insufficient time to consider it. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said he wouldn't back the proposal unless it had the support of Governor Gina Raimondo.

In a switch, Raimondo announced her support Monday for the revised stadium plan, calling it a good deal for the state.