Here are some financial breakdowns from the "Economic & Fiscal Benefits Analysis Of a New Downtown Pawtucket Ballpark" report, published 10/3/2017 by B & D Venues:
Summary of overall ballpark investment totals:
Potential (tax) Return on Investment:
What would make up the $142.2 million investment shortfall difference? All of the money growing on Rhode Island’s trees?
General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, educated at Brown at Yale, struck out last night at the public meeting at NEIT when he stated the new ballpark is “affordable for the city and state” and that the state has "acceptable levels of public debt” and can afford to take out $1.2 billion more in new bonds over the next 10 years. When Magaziner referenced the pension liabilities for the state and its cities, he practically dismissed the topic like those that kept swatting at the fly buzzing around the meeting room.
Magaziner stated that he initially was “hesitant” in supporting the new ballpark but he believes now that it will be “a win.” I’d love to know what changed his mind. It’s not a win for Rhode Island taxpayers. When one comes from a privileged life where they have the opportunity to be educated at Brown and Yale, that Ivy League education still doesn’t necessarily give one the type of common sense, street smart understanding of what every day middle class taxpayers face, living in the God forsaken money sucking state of RI.
Magaziner failed to touch upon the one thing last night when he shoulder shrugged away his simple solution of just “fixing the pension plans” ... that one thing being TAX INCREASES. I know it well living in a RI city that has been increasingly taxed for 18 straight years and has accrued pension liabilities totaling just over $1 billion, while the massive liability debt continues to increase every single fiscal year. What would ARC payments be without tax increases? The City of Pawtucket had to endure yet another year of tax increases to keep up with its debt—another tax increase of 3.74%. So I asked the question last night at the meeting and I ask it again now--If you couldn’t increase taxes in the city of Pawtucket another fiscal year, would the city still consider the new ballpark investment? We all know what the answer is.
And the “backstops” …
After 38 Studios, no one should have to stress to our Senators or any other legislator that every ounce of protection should be put in place to protect the taxpayers of RI from any investment deal that could potentially strike out. 38 studios had insurance yet RI taxpayers still got stuck with the payback bill. This new ballpark deal quite frankly, shouldn’t even be on the pitchers mound. Why is it? Because the SPECIAL INTERESTS once again have smoke coming out of their nostrils to get their hands on temporary jobs for themselves, and they could care less about what comes out on the other side. It’s all about the “now” --forget about the “later.” It's all about what's good for me, for us, and who cares about them.
Rhode Islander’s are nostalgic people. We love our history, we love where we came from, we love our memories and we want to preserve our history. It’s why people from all over even visit Rhode Island in the first place—because of its history. McCoy Stadium is part of that nostalgia equation. McCoy also unfortunately falls under the same predicament as our Rhode Island public school buildings- neglected and deteriorating because the taxpayer’s money was being funneled into the dark abyss of pension liability funding that continues to destroy our cities and state. The state is looking at $2.2 billion that is needed to fix our school buildings ($176 million needed for Pawtucket’s schools) which is double our state’s 10 year bond borrowing capacity, and our cities’ pension plans are no where near being “fixed.” Yet our Brown and Yale educated General Treasurer thinks a new ballpark investment is the way to go. Sorry Magaziner, you’re way off base.
Rhode Island leadership should be focused on fixing the massively unfunded pension and OPEB liabilities that are destroying cities. Whatever “tools” have been delivered to cities by the state to start those fixes, are still sitting in the box, unopened and unused, and everything continues to fall apart. Tackling municipal pension liabilities and the massive financial burden sitting on the shoulders of every RI taxpayer should be the number one priority, before even thinking about burdening the RI taxpayers for more. This new ballpark deal is nothing more than a game full of foul balls that would break and bloody the faces of RI taxpayers. The deal shouldn’t even be considered.
RI can’t keep borrowing and taxing our way into future investments. It’s bad business. Cities need to make tough decisions when it comes to managing their massively unfunded pension liabilities, then use the savings to reinvest it back to fixing school buildings and historical landmarks like McCoy Stadium.