The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce is urging Rhode Island citizens to contact state lawmakers and encourage them to uphold their end of the 38 Studios' loan guarantee in an open letter on the department's website.
In the letter, the department outlines why R.I. needs to uphold its "moral obligation" to the loan and pay its next installment. According to the Chamber of Commerce, failure to pay the loan could reduce the state's bond rating to "junk bonds," which would damage fiscal reputation. Not paying the 38 Studios debt would actually cost R.I. $36 million more, according to the department.
"Defaulting would put at risk the state’s ability to finance current and future economic development projects that stimulate the economy, improve critical services such as school construction and clean water, and put Rhode Islanders back to work," reads the letter.
Defaulting on the 38 Studios loan would also affect the state's access to capital that could be used to establish and grow new businesses, dissuading new companies from investing and settling in the state.
"Although disappointing and frustrating that Rhode Island has been saddled with this burden, the Chamber believes it is imperative that we protect current and future economic development projects by upholding Rhode Island’s moral obligation on the 38 Studios loan guaranty," the letter states.
Earlier this week, R.I. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello urged the state to repay debtors of the $75 million loan guarantee given to former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling to establish 38 Studios. The Libertarian Party of R.I. countered, saying the state shouldn't pay the loan back and is not obligated to do so.
38 Studios, developer of Kingdoms of Amalur and the never-released Project Copernicus and Rise of Nations: Tactics, laid off its entire staff in May 2012 after missing several loan payments and filed for bankruptcy the following month. Follow the story of 38's bankruptcy and subsequent struggle against the Rhode Island in our dedicated StoryStream.