Letter urges Mattiello to stand behind 38 Studios repayment

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello received a letter from local business organizations urging the General Assembly to set aside taxpayer money to repay the roughly $90 million owed to bond holders in the 38 Studios deal.

The letter was signed by ten organizations, including a number of chambers of commerce and business groups, and reads in part: “We share your disappointment in having to make this challenging decision, but, by firmly declaring your support for repayment, you have sent a strong message to state and national markets that Rhode Island will live up to its financial obligations.”

In late May, Mattiello announced he supports including the next payment of $12.5 million in the upcoming budget, and some say he’s using the letter to reinforce that stance.

Lawmakers have been locked in an ongoing debate over whether to make the next payment or default on the loan guarantee.

Mattiello recently met with Wall Street ratings agencies to discuss the issue after they said a default would cause Rhode Island’s bond rating to suffer.

A Democratic caucus met after the House’s regular session Tuesday to discuss the budget. A number of representatives told Target 12 Mattiello doesn’t have the votes to approve funding for the next payment, but the speaker’s spokesperson claimed otherwise.

Speaker Mattiello’s first budget is scheduled to be discussed Thursday.

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