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    Under the Dome: Senate Finance Committee Passes Pawsox Bill

    January 15, 2018

    An Update from the State House

    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 16 th .
    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
    16 th . 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 1 st 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.)

    Contact:
    Stephen Lombardi
    (401) 885-0020