Hartford Baseball Stadium Could Be Financed by State [NBC]

May 5, 2015


The $1.8 billion revenue generation package unveiled last week by Democrats in the General Assembly’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee includes state-issued bonds to help finance Hartford’s minor league baseball stadium.

The stadium comes with a price tag of $56 million that city officials have said will be paid for with bonds. The proposal that came from the tax-writing committee includes flexible language that could clear the way for the state to cover some or all of the project’s cost.

“Now, this is the second attempt to get the state to fund part of the stadium and it’s wrong,” said State Sen. Len Fasano, who has been the most vocal critic of any proposal that sends state aid to the capital city to pay for the stadium.

The new stadium is slated to be up and running by opening day in April 2016.

Last month, lawmakers heard testimony on a proposal to take money from the state’s admission tax and send it back to Hartford to finance the stadium. It was estimated that the state would provide about $400,000 in revenues from the tax.

The new proposal scraps that plan and paves the way for potentially millions more.

“They’re saying to the legislature, ‘Look, you’re not going to get to review it; we’re not even sure we’re going to do the analysis. We’re not even required to do the analysis,'” explained Fasano, a Republican from North Haven. “They’re saying, ‘Just give us the money.'”

State Sen. John Fonfara, a Democrat from Hartford who sponsored the bill, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra wasn’t available for an interview Monday, but has said previously that state funding was always a part of the plan to fund the stadium. The stadium will be the centerpiece of a multi-use development in the Downtown North section of Hartford, which will comprise apartments, a grocery store and a brewery.

Lawmakers will consider the stadium financing plan along with several other tax hikes over the next few weeks. The deadline to produce a budget is June 3.