Costantino voted against 38 Studios payment, gas tax increases
STATE HOUSE – After much thought and deliberation, Rep. Gregory J. Costantino (D-Dist. 44, Lincoln, Johnston, Smithfield) voted against making the $12.3 million bond payment for the collapsed 38 Studios and increases in the motor vehicle fuel tax – indexed to inflation –
featured in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal.
“I felt I had to vote my conscience on the issue of the 38 Studios payment and indexing the gas tax rate to inflation,” Representative Costantino said of Thursday night’s budget debate, which spilled into the early morning on Friday. “Carrying intimate knowledge of the obstacles my constituents face every day in their local communities, I could not bring myself to vote for the imposition of a gas tax increase and raising motor vehicle inspection and good driving fees. We have already asked Rhode Islanders to shoulder too much of the state’s burden on top of their own personal struggles, many of which are tied directly to our unemployment rate. That’s why I also believe that the money slated for the 38 Studios bond would best be spent elsewhere.”
He added he would firmly support a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation of all transactions involving 38 Studios.
“Before asking the Rhode Island taxpayers to cough up payments for the 38 Studios bond, we should allow the SEC to further investigate what took place when this deal was made,” Representative Costantino said. “What I’ve been able to glean from the latest House hearings is that this 38 Studios morass is incredibly complex, and the people of Rhode Island deserve to know exactly what went wrong. In my mind, asking them to pay for it without a full, transparent understanding of everything involved is an egregious move.”
The House of Representatives voted to pass Article 1, which included the 38 Studios payment, in a vote of 60 to 15. The body also voted 62 to 11 to approve Article 21, which will allow for the gas tax to rise with inflation if enacted.
For more information, contact:
Brenna McCabe, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903