Senate Finance Committee Passes Pawsox Bill
Last week the Senate Committee passed two bills to provide the avenue for the Pawsox ball park to become a reality. The full senate is scheduled to vote on the proposals January 16th.
S.2001, A Resolution Authorizing the State to Enter into Financing Lease and payment Agreements in Connection with the Construction of a Ballpark in the City of Pawtucket, is a resolution authorizing the State to enter into a financing lease with the state as a lessee and the Pawsox as a sublessee for financing the park. The financing would be accomplished through the sale of Series A Bonds which could be done on a tax exempt basis or a taxable basis or a combination thereof. The maximum amount of bonds to be issued would be $41 million with a maximum debt service payment of $2.8 million over a 30 year period. The Pawsox would make payments to the State with money made from team rentals, the amount of annual naming rights payments received in excess of $250,000, and any and all other sources “in order to cover the Team's absolute and unconditional obligation on the Series A Bonds.”
The Resolution also includes the authorization for the state to issue Series B Bonds (taxable or tax exempt) up to $26 million with a total debt service payment of $1.8 million. The debt assumed would be paid from state revenues “which are expected to include taxes generated by Ballpark users, visitors, the PawSox, and ancillary development.”
Lastly, the resolution calls for the issuance of Series C Bonds (taxable or tax exempt) in the amount of $18 million with a total debt service payment of $1.4 million over 30 years. The responsibility for repayment of these Bonds would fall to the City of Pawtucket. The Senate expects the City to pay for its obligations through “incremental real estate property tax, hotel tax, tangible asset tax, food and beverage tax revenues and assessments generated in and around the Downtown Redevelopment Project, and from such other City revenues, including, but not limited to, premium ticket surcharge, $250,000 of annual naming right payments each year for a period of thirty (30) years, and State Aid”. The types of “State Aid” the City could use for repayment of the bonds is limited to certain categories of state aid.
Your Chamber has reviewed the proposal along with the potential revenue loss that would come with the moving of the team to Massachusetts. The Chamber supports the passage of S.2001.
S.2022, An Act Relating to Towns and Cities – Redevelopment Agencies and Projects is the other bill that passed the Senate Finance Committee and is headed to the Senate for a vote on the 16th. This legislation simply permits redevelopment agencies to finance the construction of projects for residential, recreational, commercial, industrial, institutional, public, or other purposes contemplated by a redevelopment plan. It does not have the broad public taking language that the previous version contained. The Chamber supports the passage of S.2022.
House Oversight Committee Looks at ORR
On February 1st at approximately 4:30pm, The House Oversight Committee will meet in Room 101 of the State House to ask questions concerning the effectiveness of the Office of Regulatory Reform (ORR). ORR was created to review current and proposed regulations and to eliminate those regulations that are overly burdensome or are considered to have limited value. While ORR has streamlined some regulatory processes perhaps its greatest value has been in its efforts to require agencies to evaluate new proposed regulations from an economic impact point of view before those agencies can promulgate the new regulation. The chamber will be watching this issues as it unfolds.
The following bills were filed last week:
House Bill No. 7080, AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY -- ELECTRONIC RECORDING (Authorizes a city or town clerk/recorder of deeds, at the clerk's/recorder's option, to accept electronic documents for recording real property and land records and to index and store those documents.)
House Bill No. 7091, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- SALES AND USE TAXES (Exempts the mandatory paintcare fee added to the purchase price of paint sold in the state from sales tax.)
House Bill No. 7092, AN ACT RELATING TO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES -- MANUFACTURING AND WHOLESALE LICENSES (Reduces the alcoholic beverage manufacturing and wholesale licensing fee from three thousand dollars ($3,000) to five hundred dollars ($500).)
House Bill No. 7111, AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW--GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS -- RHODE ISLAND RIGHT-TO-KNOW DATA TRANSPARENCY AND PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT (Protects individuals from internet disclosure of personally identifiable information by commercial websites/online service operators and creates right of action for violations.)
House Bill No. 7115, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- UNLAWFUL EMPLOYER PRACTICES AND SALARY HISTORY INFORMATION (Prohibits an employer from seeking salary history information, including compensation and benefits, concerning an applicant for employment.)
House Bill No. 7116, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES (Prohibits an employer from inquiring about a prospective employee wage and salary history before an offer of employment with compensation has been extended.)
House Bill No. 7117, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- PAYMENT OF WAGES (Defines and recognizes the existence and potential liability of lead entities concerning the payment of wages.)
House Bill No. 7121, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- RHODE ISLAND HEALTH BENEFIT EXCHANGE (Authorizes RI Health Exchange to seek waiver under Affordable Care Act to allow small business owners/sole proprietors to purchase health plans offered by RI Health Exchange.)
Senate Bill No. 2019, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- RHODE ISLAND HEALTH BENEFIT EXCHANGE (Authorizes RI Health Exchange to seek waiver under Affordable Care Act to allow small business owners/sole proprietors to purchase health plans offered by RI Health Exchange.)
Senate Bill No. 2028, AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW--GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS -- UNFAIR SALES PRACTICES (Makes it an unfair sales practice to sell, offer for sale, lease or distribute a product creating Internet access without digital blocking capabilities for obscene material.)