Senator Sheehan was reacting to the recently announced proposal by the new PawSox owners for a stadium they want to build on 9.5 acres of land in the reclaimed I-195 corridor. Under that proposal, taxpayers would be asked to contribute up to $120 million over 30 years to pay for the ballpark and parking garage that is planned. In addition, the City of Providence is being asked to waive all city real estate taxes for 30 years and change city zoning so a ballpark is a permitted use on the site.
“Over a 30 year period, the PawSox owners want taxpayers to essentially buy them a new ballpark, lease them prime property in the heart of what was to be the Knowledge District for only $1 per year for 30 years, and charge them no city property taxes,” said Senator Sheehan. “Given how incredibly one-sided this proposal is, it should be considered a non-starter by every state and city officials involved in such a potential plan.”
“I believe in providing incentives to business when the deal makes sense,” he said. “But, according to reliable evidence, publicly-supported ballparks provide little to no economic benefits to taxpayers or the community in which they are located. Instead, they typically generate low-paying jobs, for only a portion of the year. Considering the significant public outlay and small return on investment, this proposal does not appear to be in the best interest of the public. Moreover, seeing how big the ‘ask’ is, it makes one question if the owners are truly serious about keeping the PawSox in Rhode Island," said Senator Sheehan.