Controversial bill would use state tax to fund Yard Goats stadium [Fox CT]

April 20, 2015

Article as it appeared on
HARTFORD — The Yard Goats stadium has brought its fair share of controversy and now there’s seems to be another battle brewing.

Some lawmakers say the City of Hartford is digging its way out of debt for the new ballpark stadium through a bill making its way across the capitol.

Senate Bill 1132 is a measure that would utilize admissions tax money from tickets at the stadium to essentially pay off the debt associated with the ballpark.

A public hearing is scheduled on this bill Monday morning.

Currently, Connecticut charges a 10 percent admissions tax on all tickets at arenas and ballparks statewide. That money then goes back to the state.

Hartford is asking to collect that tax from the Yard Goats ballpark and instead of going to the state it would go to the city.

Some lawmakers are questioning why the state should hand over that money.

The obvious answer is that it helps pay off the multi-million dollar ballpark, still many argue the bill is a tactic to divert taxpayer money.

“I think that the bill that’s before us is taking tax dollars and subsidizing the state,” said Republican Senator Len Fasano. “That was never the deal and it shouldn’t have been the deal.”

The City of Hartford has an entirely different view.

“That’s a city project, it’s a venue here in the city and we’re asking for that money to come back to the city because we do not have the authority to tax, so the only way that taxpayers are paying for the ballpark is if they go to the ballpark,” said Hartford Spokeswoman Maribel La Luz.

The bill would also exempt professional baseball played at the ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport from the state admissions tax.

The bill is set to go before the General Assembly’s Finance Committee at 11 a.m. at the Legislative Office Building.