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Is Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios Going Broke?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


State officials spent the weekend discussing ways to keep the video game company founded by former Red Sox star Curt Schilling solvent, Governor Chafee acknowledged Monday.

Concerns regarding the financial health of 38 Studios, which moved from Massachusetts to Rhode Island in 2011 thanks to a controversial $75 million taxpayer-funded loan guarantee from the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), began to emerge last week, but an EDC spokesperson said the company made its interest-only payment of $2,654,706.25 on time through account trustee BNY Mellon on May 1.

Asked last Friday whether 38 Studios was having financial difficulty, EDC spokeswoman Judy Chong said, “I do not have any additional information.” A spokeswoman in the Governor’s office said Friday she wasn’t aware of financial issues with the company. But while short on details, Chafee said the state is working with 38 Studios on "different issues," according to a Channel 10 report.

The EDC now has no comment and 38 Studios did not return a request for comment. Multiple e-mails sent directly to Schilling beginning last week went unanswered.

Chafee Threatened to Sue Carcieri Over Deal

At the time, supporters of the deal said Schilling’s company would bring 450 “high-wage, high-skilled jobs” to Rhode Island. The EDC board ultimately voted to grant 38 Studios $75 million of the $125 million available through the Job Creation Guaranty Program created by the General Assembly in 2010.

But the size of the guarantee became a hot button issue during the 2010 governor’s campaign when several candidates—including Governor Chafee— questioned the terms of the deal, which was supported by former Governor Don Carcieri and EDC executive director Keith Stokes. In a WPRI debate a month before the election, Chafee said his calls to let the next Governor make a decision on any deal with 38 Studios had “fallen on deaf ears” and suggested he would considering filing suit against Carcieri if the company went under.

“I guess I can best advise Governor Carcieri to pay up on his premiums for his insurance, because there is an avenue for those aggrieved to come after someone for fiduciary irresponsibility,” Chafee said at the time. “I suppose that’s the last recourse.”

More Transparency Needed

The company’s first game, “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning,” debuted to excellent reviews and strong sales, finishing as the fourth best-selling video game in February. But sales in March dropped off and the company fell out of the top ten.

Dr. Edward Mazze, distinguished University Professor of Business Administration at the University of Rhode Island said that while it is too early to tell whether 38 Studios will “live up to the hype” it was given when the EDC agreed to the loan guarantee, there needs to be more transparency related to how the company is using its funds.

“EDC needs to report to Rhode Island taxpayers and government officials whether 38 Studios met the milestones required as a condition of the loan,” Mazze said. “This should be reported immediately since it has not been done since the loan was made. How many new people were hired? How many of them were Rhode Islanders? What is the average salary for each new hire?”

Mazze said the EDC has a responsibility to monitor the loan and that if it goes into default, the state would be on the hook for the outstanding amount. He suggested allowing 38 Studios to fail now would send another negative message to companies looking to do business in Rhode Island.

“This was a risky loan to begin with,” he said. “The economic data supporting the loan was self-serving with little opportunity for outside review. If this loan fails, Rhode Island's reputation for supporting businesses comes into question again.”

“A Taxpayer Boondoggle”

Other government watchdogs and elected officials were outraged to learn that Schilling’s company could be having financial problems. Lisa Blais, who heads up the Ocean State Tea Party in Action, criticized a deal she claims has been “shrouded in secrecy.”

Blais called for both the EDC and the Governor’s office to explain exactly what is happening with Schilling’s company.

“The EDC and the Governor's office owe the taxpayers a full and complete explanation,” Blais said. “We cannot continue to invest public dollars in private enterprise. [This is] no different than Deepwater or the current legislation promoted by the East Bay Energy Consortium. A taxpayer boondoggle that costs us more money without reaping any perks.”

The Providence Journal reported late Monday evening that the city of Providence has even been approached by 38 Studios regarding the company’s financial difficulties. Councilman David Salvatore, who was opposed to the deal in 2010, said 38 Studios going under would be a loss for all of Rhode Island.

“In this tough economy, no one wants to see a business fail, but the sad fact is there were serious concerns from day one about the 38 Studios deal,” Salvatore said. “This isn’t just a potential loss in terms of that particular business failing…it’s a loss in terms of what could have been done with that money if we had a targeted approach to helping businesses in high growth sectors here in Providence and throughout Rhode Island. The state needs to learn from this experience and craft a new approach to economic development.”

The “Let’s Make a Deal” State

Schilling has already been paid back much of the $4 million he poured into the company, sources said Monday.

According to Mazze, the deal with Schilling is another example of the state’s flawed approach to bringing in new businesses.

“Rhode Island continues as the ‘Let's Make a Deal’ state where ‘name’ is more important than business feasibility,” he said. “Many believe the loan would have been of greater benefit if it was given in smaller amounts to a larger number of Rhode Island businesses and entrepreneurs to grow their ideas/businesses and create jobs.”

Dan McGowan can be reached at [email protected]


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Another failed example of corporate welfare. But the Republicans and DINOs will continue to attack poor families, the pensioners, children and the uninsured rather than blame their corporate masters.

Comment #1 by Daniel Dupuis on 2012 05 15

Who looked into the finances and business plan of 38 Studio's?

Obviously Massachusetts did as they balked at loaning them anything.

Comment #2 by Jim D on 2012 05 15

Tea Party Blais says: "We cannot continue to invest public dollars in private enterprise." Wait, I thought private enterprise was the best thing since sliced bread? It's efficient and market-driven and not saddled by labor or self-serving politicians. Isn't that what you TP peeps always say?

Comment #3 by Edward Smith on 2012 05 15

Thanks Gov. Don, I'm sure you got paid on the side by your corporate friends.

Comment #4 by tom brady on 2012 05 15

Even Republicans thought this deal was lousy. Another boondoggle.

Comment #5 by Jeffrey deckman on 2012 05 15

This is not a surprise coming from someone who works in the IT field. I commute out of state daily to MA because the pay is nearly double of what you make in RI. 38 studios had a small chance of making it here because it doesn't have the other industries surrounding it to sell into. We have a handful of companies(CVS, Fidelity, Hasbro, FM Global) and that's about it. EDC doesn't have a technology plan, because they don't understand it, although they would lead you to believe they do. This was nothing more than political grandstanding, to which 38 studios would have had a better chance of making it in Massachusetts than here. But we are trying to become a technology driven state with no other businesses following suit. I've had the pleasure of trying to work with the EDC, and if you're idea of business is not in line with theirs or sexy enough, you might as well walk out the door, because they are not going to help regardless if its a viable business plan. The legislature especially the governor and the EDC don't have a clue on how to make this a technology, much less a business friendly state. Hint: Gay equality isn't the answers. We should be focused on utilizing what we do have already; that is our sea ports, airport, our proximity (w/ railway) between Boston & New York to conduct business. The answers are here, we just don't know how to find them. Cut through the red tape, lower the tax rate, and you will see technology as well as several other industries thrive. Its time to lose the "not in my back yard" mentality for this state to prosper, but until then you will never see the economic growth. This is not only political, but just common sense....Wake Up Rhode Islanders to see really whats going on....Its not hard to fix these things, but its time for a change across the board.

Comment #6 by Bob Stanley on 2012 05 15

Ed Smith,

That is an imaginary argument. Businesses taking money from the government is not private enterprise, its crony capitalism. Republicans and Democrats alike are infected by this tendency. I'd be the first to concede, BTW, that this should be an embarrassment to Republicans because it was pushed by Carcieri. It was also Republicans who objected to this kind of finger on the scale economic development. Indeed the Governor came within one vote of losing the support of the Republican Party on his similarly absurd push for Deepwater Wind, a project to cost Electric ratepayers . . . eer . . . taxpayers 3 to 4 times the price of competitively obtained renewable power and 6 to 7 times the price of natural gas generation.

We should hold politicians to account regardless of their party. That has been the hallmark of the tea party. You can disagree with their politics, which you obviously do, but you're way off base trying to make this about the "private" market.

Comment #7 by Brian Bishop on 2012 05 15

when does the state break ground on a container port....

Comment #8 by john paycheck on 2012 05 15

Salvatore , now he thinks he is an economic development expert lol.

Comment #9 by anthony sionni on 2012 05 15

This is about as far from amazing as possible.

Hard to imagine anyone was dopey enough to waste any effort on this in the first place.

If anyone bothered to monitor this it has been made very plain... and easily found on 38studio's own website and website links... that most of this money went to Maryland and that RI only "gained" some token front office workers.

We can be certain that one of the main motives was that a bunch of dopey-zero suit-wearing idiots were in thrall at the idea of meeting a "real live pro ballplayer".

Another can be that they are not savvy enough to know anything about any kind of "hi tech".... which videogames is not. It is showbiz.... with some techs required to bring it to fruition.

The IRS and Justice Dept from outside of RI ought to be brought in to audit every suit-wearer involved in this and audit their extended families and friends.

You can be certain that there is some petty bribery afoot... probably by way of giving some parent's-basement-dwelling unemployed college graduate a job.

In RI... don't even look for it to be a major league bribe... these are the kind of idiots who will throw a "ballgame" for the equivalent of a couple cases of beer.

In this case it was starstruck baseball fans who caved in for a couple autographed baseballs.

Flushing $75million down the toilet on "only a loan guarantee" in return for a pathetically unprofitable bribe would be expected.

They are the sort we can presume figure that it isn't a big crime to take a bribes so long as it is a small one..... regardless of the $75-per-citizen-of-RI ripoff it is.

Ask yourself: Do you, individually, feel all warm and fuzzy being on the hook for "only $75" worth of ripoff???

Comment #10 by Caroline Evans on 2012 05 15

Real Republicans were all against this deal from the start. Remember that real Republicans are against over-extending government into the private business world and no real Republican would be in favor of gambling $76 million of taxpayer dollars on a single unproven company in a very volitile gaming market. The state would have been better off buying $75M in Powerball tickets. Real Republicans would have carefully reviewed the business plan, possibly offered the company a tax incentive to locate the business in RI, in exchange for some guaranteed number of new jobs year over year. It looks like none of that was done. This is not a Repblican plan at all. Governments shold always wonder why any company (like Solindra) need to be propped up by the government when the smarter private investment firms will not fund these companies. Let capitalism work the way it is SUPPOSED to, without tax-payer funding.

Comment #11 by Captain Blacksocks on 2012 05 15

BOb Stanley makes some astute comments.

Edc has never substantiated it's cost. It should be
Shut down and have a few people in the governors
Office marketing the state.

Edc is and always has been nothing more than admin

They accomplished virtually nothing when you
Look at what it has cost the state

Comment #12 by jon paycheck on 2012 05 15

It might be an idea to quit having ANYONE in government "marketing the state".

How about letting the various Chambers of Commerce and like organizations do so???

Comment #13 by Caroline Evans on 2012 05 15

This f...ing comment engine just dumped my comment. perhaps a reflection on its worth but these pages have a habit of resetting themselves while I'm typing a comment and ditching any entry I've made that has posted yet, and since there is no editting function you can't post and then fix. I don't know if anyone else has had that problem but I've had it since day one with golocal and -- perhaps happily -- it means I seldom comment unless I really give a hoot about something.

That said, Johnny paycheck, if you take the political long view you may be referring to my support of a private company (not the state] building a container port at Quonset about a dozen years ago. If I mistake the ambit of your comment, I apologize although it provides and interesting distinction of the trajectory of projects like Deepwater, EBEC and 38 Studios.

I would support a container proposal again if the tents of the undertaking were similar, i.e., where the state's commitment was essentially limited to cheerleading. No loans, No bonds, No forced payment by taxpayers under the guise of their status ratepayers.

Indeed the container port project was even ready to ditch federal funding for dredging in order to reduce the regulatory red tape that ultimately strangled it anyway. The state and federal government (and drivers through the gas tax) did fund road and rail improvements to Quonset although these were planned and under execution without regard to the container port. I'm open to private models for provision of transportation infrastructure, but recognize that the model -- including BTW for ports, has been the opposite. So the container port effort actually bucked the trend of bloated state quasi-publics being created for any "port" activity. Need I point out at this juncture that the EDC is actually the institutional descendent of the RI Port Authority. Just goes to show you how ruinous this idea of state winner picker economic development is and how it evolves from the notion of the state as providing the background infrastructure of commerce. EDC should be disbanded and eliminated period. That would do more for economic development in RI than anything the EDC has accomplished. And this was the agency that was the cheerleader for the Quonset Port, but the value of having an economic cheerleader is outweighed by the danger of having a state quasi-public that meddles in markets completely unrelated to traditional public purposes. You eliminate the EDC and add economic development to the mission of other state departments. I don't mean add staff, I mean add and clarify purpose so that better cost benefit thinking ensues.

With regard to power generation, e.g. Deepwater, EBEC, favored flavor of the month, the model has been the opposite, tending toward private projects without guaranteed funding streams.

I don't favor the RPS - i.e. renewable portfolio standard - but if the legislature really desires that the state partake in this folly, they will always be most attentive to the ratepayers if they provide for competitive purchase. Just compare the most recent competitive renewables contract under consideration by the PUC - i.e. Public Utilities Commission - Blackbear Hydro, under 10¢/KWH compared to Deepwater that opens with legislatively commanded PUC approval at about 24¢/KWH and escalates to about 46¢/KWH.

That said, I recognize that a signature undertaking like a container port might have resulted in appeals for state support if the business plan did not pan out.

That, in and of itself, is not a reason for not going forward. It is a reason for recognizing that the reason for going forward is the investment of private capital in which the state is not at risk. And, without state guarantees on the line the state is freer to allow a private entrepeneur to fail.

A similar if imperfect analogy, because it involves an industry even more joined at the hip with the state, is the bankruptcy at Twin River. The state is particularly [self]interested to see Twin River prosper but, generally speaking, didn't create a state rescue plan. It may have facilitated the regulatory passing of the baton. I would prefer a more competitive gaming market with even handed regulatory requirements, but, at least, the state was apparently never seriously tempted to bail out Twin River (I'm sure some self-serving folks might have been titillated by the idea, don't get me wrong).

The 38 Studios thing is off the charts, its not a monoply sector where ratepayer protection as at issue, its doesn't provide traditional public goods like transportation infrastructure -- and I can't help noticing the ironic full disclosure from Curt Schilling saying at the time that the only way the state faced any risk was if the company failed. Q.E.D. maybe. The state has absolutely no business in this kind of thing.

Comment #14 by Brian Bishop on 2012 05 15

john paycheck,

BTW, notice in later comment that you and I agree on shutting down EDC. MAybe that is how we save the $75 million dollars. Don't know if we have other areas of agreement but be glad to work shoulder to shoulder on this. Send Keith Stokes back to the Chamber of Commerce, which as Caroline Evans points out is supposed to be the advocate for business.

Comment #15 by Brian Bishop on 2012 05 15

This whole situation was both predictable and sad. Predictable because several financial experts looked at the 38 Studios deal and passed, while RI bureaucrats thought they knew better than the private sector expert. Sad because the money could have been used to help a great number of RI businesses grow.

I think former Governor Carcieri did a good job when it came to reigning in state spending, but unfortunately if 38 Studios goes bust, Carcieri must shoulder the blame for wasting 75,000,000 million taxpayer dollars.

Lincoln Almond's legacy is the Fidelity campus and the growth of Northern RI. Carcieri's legacy may end up being two failed economic development projects: 38 Studios and Deepwater Wind. For RI's sake, let's hope that is not the case.

Comment #16 by Todd B on 2012 05 15

fyi... i am all for a container port..as long as it is privately built and the state has no financial liability.but so far, no takers....so if private industry wont back it, that means its probably a loser..and the state needs to stay out of it.

Comment #17 by jon paycheck on 2012 05 15


We're sorry that the refresh happens. I always tell people that when they have a long comment, it's probably safer to type it in word and copy & paste in just so you don't lose it.

Thanks so much for reading and participating.

[email protected]

Comment #18 by Dan McGowan on 2012 05 15


you aware that was the deal on the table with the original proposal more than a decade ago?

A significant problem in this area is that RI is particularly prone to obstructionism in the area of environmental regulation. This has been true of alternative energy development in RI. Many private wind projects (concedely inspired by RPS and netmetering subsidies) have been opposed with such vehemence that very few are likely to succeed. This may be because they are uneconomical period, but if they are uneconomical on the margin because of public opposition I think the appropriate way to reconcile that would be legislative rollback of regulations. (Of course that is dependent on the representative legislature actually believing that windpower development in RI is important. I don't believe this but the legislature claims to believe it. And yet they cling to policies that will prevent it without immense favoritism to particular actors and harm to taxpayers.

BTW, of course it is fair to say that harm to taxpayers can come in the form of environmental externalities. But if this purported fear amounts to a bar on development of wind power in RI, then the legislature should either signal that the externalities should control of move the standard modestly in favor of development and see what happens.

The port project was perfect example of the same thing, whereas the state is clearly willing to go easy on its regulations for a state actor -- see the central landfill, ask anyone at DEM who will speak honestly about whether regulation has been applied as diligently to the state landfill as to private concerns. Ditto, BTW, for crony capitalists like Deepwater Wind. There is one competitive cost standard for everyone else and it is thrown out the window for Deepwater, and fast track environmental that the average private actor could never get.

The reality is that many ports are developed with public money. This pattern and its relation to transportation creates a difficult circumstance -- much like the stadium financing wars, but its been around much longer. I suppose that those who favor public funding of stadiums can point to Rome, so I'm not saying that you can't find a shred of evidence in the history of Western Civilization that is analogous to stadium funding, and I haven't looked into the complexities of whether roman stadiums were simply public or public-private crony capitalist precursors, or what.

But, I fully agree public traditions of investment in infrastructure are open to abuse, capture and larding as virtually all public pursuits demonstrate. The historic public participation in these arenas does soften my outlook slightly, from a Burkian perspective.

That said, I think if we want to know whether there are any viable private port development alternatives, the state would have to better stabilize the regulatory landscape. I would always prefer that this is done by generic approach rather than single issue legislating. If regulations are too much for large sophisticated financial actors, how can small business or individuals be expected to cope.

On the other hand I accept that big projects make big targets. And it is especially important to diminish that effect if we are trying to bring private capital into arenas that have historically been public.

For that reason I wish to express a modestly less categorical view on this issue. I think I would favor a stable and perhaps somewhat directed regulatory relief effort with regard to port development as a tool to understand the appetite of the market, but remain cognizant that such an effort would be competing with publicly funded efforts in other states. Still, I respect those whose cynicism may rightfully exceed their respect for tradition in these matters.

Finally I observe, as an aside, that some portly come lately proposals are for minor barge ports intended to alleivate congestion on highways into Southern New England from NY and NJ where major ports are located. The scale of investment involved is several orders of magnitude smaller, but I think user fees and congestion charges on the highways with the money spent to improve the highways are a better management tool. The institution of that kind of model could then incentivize private actors to consider port development at Quonset, rather than a government effort.

Comment #19 by Brian Bishop on 2012 05 15

Dan Mc,

Thanks for your note, but "Save early and often" has been around for ages and folks still lose stuff. I'd expect to hear that you were working on the problem. I like to stay on page I'm commenting on so I can scroll or search for the comments of others to which I responding and refresh my memory of what precisely they have said with toggling between programs or windows.

NFN but this has been a problem from the get go. I don't have this problem at other sites. Apparently there are platforms that no enough to auto save. Since you can't even comment if you aren't logged in, I know that you have some cookie under which you could save my comments and if the page resets put them back in the box.

Its an IT world and every other page I comment on is outcompeting Golocal at the moment.

You guys have done well for an internet only provider. I find the model interesting but if I were essential an IT platform, I'd be friggin embarrassed to have a comment engine that ditched comments, didn't allow editing and didn't provide for convenient bold, italic, or comments and most importantly hyperlinks.

Comment #20 by Brian Bishop on 2012 05 15

Totally understand and agree. We're trying our best over here smile

Comment #21 by Dan McGowan on 2012 05 15

As to the refresh flushing a comment.... I have been a victim of that way, way too often as well.

The very least one could do is post something at the top of the page warning people of this refresh-rate.... instead of p***-ing off some of the best most thoughtful commentators by having it occur without warning.

Comment #22 by Caroline Evans on 2012 05 15

That's a great idea, Carol. I generally don't handle the tech side of things, but let me see if I can pass along that suggestion.

Thanks again to everyone who reads and comments on the site. I appreciate it.

[email protected]

Comment #23 by Dan McGowan on 2012 05 15

Does the state own the game when 38 goes bust?

Comment #24 by John McGrath on 2012 05 15

RI's economic future is not going to be saved by government supporting a "a port" or "a video gaming company" or "a casino".

RI's economic future will only be helped by creating a broader business climate that will allow good companies to grow. That means a competitive tax rate, a population of workers who have the skills to work in the new economy, etc. Latching onto this [fill in the blank with a specific project] or that single [fill in the blank with a specific company] only perpetuates RI's problems.

Comment #25 by Todd B on 2012 05 15

Time for Keith Stokes to resign.

Comment #26 by Portsmouth Citizen on 2012 05 15

Good thing we screwed our retirees to give money to the "job creators". Maybe we can get some more money from cops and firemen to fund some other non local private industry, hey they dont need it curt schilling does.

Comment #27 by rufus tufus on 2012 05 16

I mentioned it above in a longish post.... but it bear repeating:

There are about 1 million people in RI.... and this $75million boondoggle alone will cost each and every RIer.... individually, $75 each.

If some hooded hoods were rolling everyone on the sidewalk in Providence for $75 the Providence PD would have a swat team on every street corner rounding them up.. .and would be using lethal force to do so.

Yet... some suit wearing hoods who are doing the exact same thing are figured to be "guys who went a little astray" ?????

Comment #28 by Caroline Evans on 2012 05 16

Todd B

I certainly wasn't discussing the port in the context of silver bullets -- anymore than anyone ever said at the high point of the 38 studios fervor that this single project would change ri's future.

Rather it came up by comparison of the idea of the state picking any project whatsoever rather than trying to create a business climate.

That said, I do view the port project differently given that transportation infrastructure stradles the line between essentially the business climate and business itself.

I know its old fashioned to think about making anything that can't be deliver over the internet but despite the post-industrial meme we still make stuff here and could make more.

Building highways isn't going to 'save' RI, but it might be merited in some instances -- far more so than repaving the ones we have 5 or 10 years early because thats the only stimulus work they can dream up that wouldn't be blocked by environmentalists.

The greatest disappointment of the stimulus isn't the return to Keynes (who wouldn't expect progressives to be successful in pushing for government side solutions when given the opportunity to paint the current predicament as market failure at first blush), it is the appalling lack of courage among progressives to push aside their brethren in the red tape brigade. They have absolutely nothing to show for the stimulus and it is the built environment of Roosevelt's spending that fuels nostalgic belief in its merit that mitigates solid economic argument to the contrary. I suppose the upside to this failure is, there will be virtually no nostaligia for this stimulus.

I don't advocated building highways because that makes jobs itself or as a matter of 'stimulus' in the first order. They are the infrastructure of commerce. They enable the exchange among private actors, whether that be of goods, services or culture. Yeah, some stuff is post industrial and arrives via the internet but you still gotta have UPS. Don't know if we need the post office, but at least I recognize that the constitution consigned the infrastructure of the post [i.e. roads] to the government. I'm open to non-governmental models, I don't think the constitution awarded a monoply and I think post roads existed amongst a network of municipal and private ways. And our current system is complicated, especially in the northeast by the parochial contracdting and unionism that frustrate acccomplishing this work as cost effectively as other parts of the country, but I still view that as a cost of doing business, not as an excuse to keep the shovels in the barn.

Let me tell you that the folks in Tiverton and Aquidneck Island sure think they deserve a new bridge and it shouldn't have a toll. I'm reserving judgement about how you pay for this stuff, with the exception of I'm not promoting it as some kind of deficit spending stimulus idea.

There is little question that waterways and access to them fall somewhat in the same category. Indeed, it is the historic government power to keep these ways open that ironically has given the Army Corps of Engineers the current power to stop virtually any project in the country. So I retain a degree of open mindedness about whether to categorize port projects as business or business infrastructure. A semantic? surely. But to go Rush one better, semantics matter.

Nor is that mutually exclusive with private approaches, any more than the road example. But I accept a degree of tradition here. When it comes to public expectation of what government will provide, I think the long march to a new Rte 24 bridge to Aquidneck Island is illustrative. You'll find few conservatives in Tiverton or Portsmouth who don't think that the government has created an expectation for free travel across the Sakonett River and ought to have a duty to provide that toll free.

I'm reserving judgment on how we ought to pay for stuff like that with the exception of continuing to resist a deficit spending outfunding model.

I think the fundamental point is that some government spending is part of the business environment just as the level and nature of taxes to support it is a part of that environment. Whether that environment is, on balance, positive is not just a matter of dollars and sense but of psychology. The perception of what a state thinks of business is not a mathematically derivative of what it taxes.

To me the absolutely worst message we have sent to businesses are stealth taxes like forcing National Grid to contract with Deepwater Wind. IT shows we are a home of crony capitalism where the benefits to some favored business are meted out to everyone else. How does it feel to be Toray Plastics, perhaps the quintessential and exemplary old guard manufacturing employer in the state that actually makes something to be handed a bill for $2 million a year just to pay for Deepwater. And this assault on an existing business is accomplished by a cabal of the Republican Governor and the leaders and vast majority of both houses of the legislature.

That isn't arguing about whether CEO's should pay an alternative minimum state income tax or a higher rate on capital gains and more arcane fronts in the war on wealth, it is just outright anti-business crony capitalism.

Nothing is a silver bullet, but pulling the plug on something like that would have been a step in the right direction.

That is is at the center of the state's economic development agenda and that the EDC was the amongst the saviors of the Deepwater Project just goes to show you why we don't need an EDC. All the EDC does is pick one business over another.

The legislature should 0 their budget.


Comment #29 by Brian Bishop on 2012 05 16

portsmouth citizen,

I describe myself as lukecold on Stokes but you can't lay this at his feet. This is Carcieri's. Chafee should be blamed for it being the only campaign plank he didn't act aggressively on. He should have moved to constrain distribution of funds and claw back if that was his commitment. He hasn't waivered on his other campaign promises (with the ironic exception that he has been moved off the notion of reamortizing pensions, because of the initiative of others).

But his decsion not blow up the 38 studios deal to whatever extent possible -- no doubt based on poison pills and difficulties left in place by the preceding administration to which Stokes was certainly party -- represents the lack of courage in his convictions on the very kinds of issue that are of interest to everyone in the state.

I don't have a problem that he holds cultural views that are of particular interest to smaller factions (for and against). And hindsight is 20/20. He may have been in a position where we would have lost x million dollars by backing out of the 38 studios but I think he had the backing to do something like that and blinked.

BTW - when Stokes should have quit was when Chafee had him on tenterhooks about the job. He should have quit and made Chafee ask him back. Stokes has essentially proved pliable on Deepwater and 38 Studios. I suppose that is reason to call for his resignation given how this is working out, but the real blame for this has to go to Carcieri, period.

Comment #30 by Brian Bishop on 2012 05 16

The proposed tolls on outlying bridges has about nothing to do with legitimate fundraising

It is the usual cynical, corrupt theft that the urban core of the state wreaks upon everyone else to pay for their crass and bottomless incompetence and irresponsibility.

Comment #31 by Caroline Evans on 2012 05 16

The whole Studio38 project was a joke from the get-go.

I would like to meet the clowns who thought this was a good idea.. and to do so sorta incognito.

I would like to send a male friend into the bathroom with them to glance over at their nether regions while they were using the urinal.

Perhaps to even photo them... as it is a certainty that they either have testes the size of Guiness-worthy pumpkins.... or penises that require an electron microscope to image.

They are either the boldest con-artists who ever made a shadow upon RI soil.... or the possessors of the tiniest genitalia that ever induced an overcompensating case of the "small man's disease" in their awe of the guy who did well playing a child's playground game for pay.

Comment #32 by Caroline Evans on 2012 05 16

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